A man from Essex has appeared at Preston Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to Harassment Without Violence of a vulnerable victim from the Leyland area.
Sean McLaughlin of St Anns Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, was caught during a police operation targeting offenders who prey on vulnerable people for financial gain.
The OP Chastity campaign, which has been running for several years, covers the Chorley and South Ribble areas and aims to highlight the signs to potential victims in what to look for to avoid them becoming a target, whilst bringing offenders to justice.
McLaughlin was sentenced and received a Protection from Harassment Restraining Order. This order lasts until 22/06/2022. In addition, he was also sentenced to 18 months, discharged conditionally for 18 months and ordered to pay compensation of £100.00.
PC Paul Connell who is part of the Operation Chastity team said:
“Offenders ingratiate themselves into an individual’s life convincing them they are their friends and only helping them while all along benefiting from the relationship. Criminal offences can be difficult to prove as the victims are convinced the offender is genuinely around to help and appear to willingly hand over money and other goods oblivious to the coercion, they are subject to.
“As the victims do not see the offenders for what they are, this can also prove difficult for investigating officers and can take months of support for the victim to gain their trust and co-operation.”