Banker stole from pensioners at town centre branch

A ‘CALCULATED’ bank worker preyed on vulnerable pensioners by transferring their savings into his friend’s account, a court heard this week.

Christopher Taylor deliberately targeted elderly customers while working at Halifax in Weston.

The 25-year-old set up standing orders from bank accounts at the Sovereign Shopping Centre branch, including a �300 one from that of 83-year-old Ethel Spackman.

Taylor, of Canterbury Close in Worle, got as far as transferring that cash and another �300 from the savings of elderly Stella Wilson, before setting up direct debits from the accounts of pensioners Georgina Ford and Joan Bradshaw.

All the money was going to his friend Lyndon Thomas, whom North Somerset Courthouse heard on Monday, knew nothing about the crimes.

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Taylor, who says he was helping his friend as he was being blackmailed for money and feared for his safety, committed the crimes over a two-day period in March.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation on Monday at the St Georges courthouse.

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Sarah Evans, prosecuting, said: “This was a calculated method of offending.

“He deliberately targeted elderly customers, hoping they would not notice the money had gone from their account.

“It was particularly unpleasant the way he preyed on elderly clients.”

Taylor, who resigned following the incident and now works for Phones 4U, says he told his friend the money had to be returned within a couple of days, but did not tell him about the way he had ‘borrowed’ it.

Sue Baker, defending, says Taylor feared for his friend’s safety after he told him he was being threatened by a family with a ‘reputation’.

All of the money transferred was recovered.

Taylor received a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, was ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and pay �85 costs.

Chair of the bench David Dennis told him: “We have deliberated for a long time in order to decide whether to send you directly to jail.

“You came very close.”

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