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A MAN has been jailed for 10 months after stealing more than £2,500 from an elderly man he cared for.

Zvikombororo Tapfumaneyi, 25, of Huddersfield Road, Barnsley pleaded guilty at Reading Magistrates’ Court to one count of theft and seven counts of fraud by false representation.

Tapfumaneyi was working as a live-in carer for an elderly man who lived in Stanlake Lane, Wokingham. On the morning of June 6, Tapfumaneyi woke the victim to tell him one of his family members had died and he was flying back to Zimbabwe.

Later that day the victim received a phone call from his bank alerting him to possible fraudulent activity on his bank card. The victim noticed his bank card had been stolen and Thames Valley Police began an investigation.

CCTV showed the offender using the victims’ card in a number of locations in Barnsley and Leeds.​

Efforts to locate Tapfumaneyi were unsuccessful but after a wanted appeal was issued, he turned himself in on July 24.

He was charged the same day.

He pleaded guilty at Reading Magistrates' Court on July 25, was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment at Reading Crown Court on September 6.

Investigating officer, PC James Greehy based at Loddon Valley police station, said: “This was a disgusting crime where the defendant abused his position of trust to exploit a vulnerable man who had entrusted him in looking after and caring for him.

“The defendant claimed an elaborate story regarding his own family tragedy to justify his actions and yet went on to buy an iPhone, alcohol, cigarettes and sweets and also intended to use the money stolen to pay off his rent and never left for a family funeral as he had claimed he was doing.

“Whilst the successful transactions made by the defendant totalled £2,649.51 he attempted to make another £7k worth of transactions that were declined.

“This incident has had a lasting effect on the victim and has knocked his sense of trust. I hope the sentence can help put closure on this terrible incident and allow him to start to move on.

“I would like to thank all those who shared our wanted appeal and provided police with a wealth of information in regards to the defendant’s activities.

“I would also like to thank South and West Yorkshire Police forces for their assistance with this investigation and I hope this serves as a warning to other criminals that we will pursue you no matter where you try to hide.”