A Northampton fraudster who stole thousands of pounds from his closest friends by pretending to be them at the bank has been jailed.
A judge told Michael Cawley, formerly of Heron Way, Billing Aquadrome, it was "incredible" he could be so "brazen and stupid" in his efforts to find money for his debts and drug habits.
Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (April 5) how the 29-year-old resorted to stealing over £2,000 worth of jewellery from his mother and used nine of his closest friends' bank details to steal over £11,000 from their accounts.
Cawley even tried to blackmail a former employer for £5,000 by text message, saying he would "tell everybody information that you won't want them to know" - which Cawley made up and only led to the employer calling the police.
Referring to Cawley's admissions, His Honour Judge Michael Fowler told him: "You've brought this all on yourself. You've described it as despicable, and that's exactly what it is."
The court heard how between July and November 2018, Cawley used his closest friends' bank details to draw thousands from their accounts.
He later told police it was "remarkably easy" to do it - until all the friends noticed the transactions and quickly pieced together that Cawley was behind them.
Then, after Cawley was arrested and appeared in Northampton Magistrates' Court, he went to a bank and took out more of his friends' money "on the same day".
The court heard Cawley fell into defrauding his friends and stealing from his mother in the face of rent arrears, before developing problems with drinking, gambling and cocaine.
But the judge found little sympathy for the 29-year-old.
Judge Fowler said in sentencing: "It's almost incredible that anybody could be so brazen and stupid.
"I must decide whether to suspend your sentence. But you gave up that chance when, even after you have been before the court, you still went on committing these offences.
"Rather than find a solution to your problems, you were dishonest and visited your problems on your friends."
Cawley was handed an 18-month prison sentence.