A ST NEOTS man, who swindled his grandmother out nearly £14,000, was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence on Wednesday (October 17).

Lee Merritt, 25, was re-homed by his 73-year-old step-grandma in January following his release from prison.

His grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer's, agreed to take in Merritt to prevent him from having to live in a hostel.

In addition to a roof over his head, she gave him her bank card so he could withdraw cash and buy food.

Over time Merritt's step-mother noticed he began wearing expensive clothing and spending more money in the local pub.

She then checked her mother's bank account and was shocked to find only a few hundred pounds of her life-savings left.

At Huntingdon Crown Court, Merritt, of Cromwell Court, Eynesbury, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position to the value of between £3,000 and £4,000 between January and December last year.

In addition to a 12-month suspended sentence he as given a was given a 12-month supervision order and must carry out 150 hours' unpaid work.

Detective Constable Elizabeth Morris said: "Merritt took advantage of his own grandmother for his own financial gain. She had taken him in and put a roof over his head, but he abused that trust by plundering her accounts.

"The victim is elderly and suffers from Alzheimer's but she is still aware what he has done and is devastated by his actions."

The victim's daughter said: "My mother and I feel totally betrayed by Lee's actions. She took him in and offered a rent-free roof over his head when nobody else was willing to give him a chance, but this is how he repaid her.

"We are both saddened by his selfish actions and hope he realises what he has sacrificed through his greed."