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Chester gang jailed for conning vulnerable people

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Media captionStan told BBC North West Tonight he was conned out of "thousands" of pounds

A gang that preyed on vulnerable adults has been described as "the lowest of the low" by one of its victims.

Stan, who has mental health problems, said he was conned out of "thousands" of pounds after members pretended to befriend him before asking for a loan.

Five people who targeted 10 adults who were disabled or elderly were given a jail sentence for theft at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday.

Another two gang members were jailed in January for theft, police said.

In some cases, the victims' homes were used by members of the group for drug dealing.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption (Clockwise from top left) Kevin Thompson, Samantha Daniels, Andrew Graham and Mandy Gray were jailed for theft

Police started investigating after members of the public raised concerns in March 2015.

PC Leanne Lowndes, from Cheshire Constabulary, said: "The difficult thing was these victims believed that this gang were their true friends.

"They relied on them and at first they didn't believe they were victims, which was a challenge for us and even more distressing for them."

The criminals were arrested last August when warrants were executed at properties in Blacon, Leigh, Birkenhead and Styal.

PC Lowndes added: "I was very shocked at the lengths that this gang went... to befriend and exploit them in such a cruel way."

The people who were sentenced for theft and conspiring to steal from a person on Tuesday include:

  • Andrew Graham, 32, from Euston Grove, Birkenhead - jailed for two years and six months
  • Mandy Gray, 50, from Liscard - jailed for two years
  • Kevin Thompson, 52, from Blacon - jailed for three years
  • Samantha Daniels, 30 - jailed for two and a half years
  • Clare Thompson, 43, from Blacon - received a suspended jail sentence of two years

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