A drug addict who stole £8,020 from a vulnerable woman after working as her gardener and then later befriending her has been jailed.

CCTV footage of Clowes withdrawing money from a cash machine in Little PaxtonCCTV footage of Clowes withdrawing money from a cash machine in Little Paxton

David Clowes, of Goodliff Close, Huntingdon, had known the woman for 10 years and had been her gardener until 2016.

The 52-year-old also visited the woman socially every now and then and was often left alone while the woman went to make coffee.

Clowes also often left the house in St Neots shortly after, telling the woman he was going to buy cigarettes and returning 30 minutes later.

Investigations revealed that between June 2017 and February 2018, Clowes made multiple cash withdrawals from the woman's bank account using her card.

CCTV footage of Clowes withdrawing money from a cash machine in Little PaxtonCCTV footage of Clowes withdrawing money from a cash machine in Little Paxton

The fraud only came to light when the woman contacted police after various cash withdrawals were made using her card that she did not recognise.

Officers investigated and Clowes was caught on CCTV withdrawing cash using the woman's card at the Costcutter store in Little Paxton.

Clowes was interviewed and initially denied any involvement in the offences, despite being caught on CCTV.

He later changed his account and admitted fraudulently using his victim's card.

Clowes told police that the woman had given him her PIN number on a previous occasion and he had exploited this to withdraw money without her knowledge.

He said he was 'desperate' for the money and needed it for a drug debt which had got 'out of control'.

Clowes admitted taking the card from the woman's home when he was left alone and then putting it back when he returned from the shops.

He accepted what he had done was dishonest and apologised for his actions.

Clowes pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by false representation at a previous hearing at Peterborough Crown Court.

He was sentenced at the same court on Friday (23 August), where he was handed two years in prison.

DC Kellymarie Harman, who investigated the case, said: "Clowes thought nothing of using the bank card of his friend for his own personal gain.

"I would like to thank the victim in the case for calling us when things didn't seem quite right with her bank account, and for supporting a conviction.

"Hopefully this case will serve as a wake-up call to anyone else hoping to turn a profit through deception.

"I am pleased with the sentence imposed in this case and hope this highlights our commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our society."