A SERIAL conman whose victims included a woman he met on a dating website and a Yate resident has been jailed for 18 months.

Matthew Burton, 38, carried out a series of frauds on his friends and other people to fund his gambling and cocaine addiction.

Burton, of Egremont Close in Evesham, who worked for a Ford car dealership, told the two women he dated that he could get cheap vehicles for them.

After they handed over cash to pay for the cars he just frittered it away on his vices - and they never saw their money again, a court heard.

Burton pleaded guilty to six charges of fraud and one of theft from his employer, PJ Nicholls of Evesham.

The court was told that between August 17 and October 6, 2016, he met Sara Lee from Churchdown, near Gloucester.

He started a conversation with her on the dating website Plenty of Fish getting to know her over a number of months.

After a short time she told him she was looking for a new car.

Prosecutor Lucy Taylor said: “As Burton worked in the motor trade industry he found a suitable car for her, a VW Golf, and sent her the on-line details.

“He told her he could get it for £500 if she wanted it.”

He then fraudulently claimed £375 out of a Yate resident for a pool table on the Gumtree website.

They transferred the money but the table never materialised.

There were numerous other cases where Burton conned £1,000s out of other people in similar circumstances.

Nicholas Lee defending said: “Burton has a gambling addiction and a cocaine habit and was using the money he obtained fraudulently to fund these vices.

“Burton developed his gambling addiction at the age of 18.

“It has been a destructive force throughout his life.

“He has expressed his remorse and says he thinks about his victims on a daily basis.

“His fraudulent activity has not been very sophisticated.

“There was an element of planning in all of it.

“The consequences of his gambling addiction is that he has destroyed his relationship with his family.

Judge Picton said to Burton: “You have been a thoroughly dishonest person in a very cruel way to your victims.

“It has had an impact on all of your victims.

“You are before the court because we take this type of offending very seriously.”