A DUDLEY fraudster who pocketed over £27,000 from the bank accounts of two elderly relatives has been locked up for two-and-a-half years.

Drug addict Richie Jackson, aged 27, was taking up to £500 a time from the accounts belonging to his grandmother and great-uncle because he was desperate to feed his habit.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court, Recorder Charles Falk told Jackson that "like a leech" he had bled the couple dry adding, "This was a fraud that took place over a sustained period".

He said there had been clear criminality committed against both relatives and stressed: "The banks should fulfil their responsibilities."

Jackson, of Lauder Close, Sedgley, admitted fraud involving a total of £27,229 over the course of seven months by stealing the bank cards that controlled her account and that of his great-uncle.

David Jackson, prosecuting, said his 84-year-old grandmother looked after the finances of her dementia suffering 90-year-old brother.

She set up a special account and his care fees were paid with the money but Jackson, who was a regular visitor to her home, started withdrawing the cash.

He was finally arrested by police after the bank revealed the great uncle's account was empty and when his home was searched officers found printouts of all his transactions, Mr Jackson told Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Stephen Cooke, for Jackson, described it as a "sad case" and he said it was to be hoped his client's guilty plea would ensure the bank took a compassionate view "in line with their legal obligations".

The court was told Jackson's grandmother had her own serious health problems and the family were now worried the great-uncle might have to leave his care home because there is no money left to pay his fees and the bank had refused to compensate him for his loss.