Conman used fake romances to steal from women

He met one victim at the Fife Arms in Kirkcaldy.He met one victim at the Fife Arms in Kirkcaldy.
He met one victim at the Fife Arms in Kirkcaldy. | Other 3rd Party
A "despicable" Lothario who defrauded women in a series of fake romances has been jailed for 33 months.

Duncan Flett, 48, snared his victims on dating sites, including Plenty of Fish.

He lured one woman into meeting him in a luxury hotel, had sex with her in a bedroom, then stole her car as she waited for him to join her in the restaurant.

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He borrowed another date's six-year-old car and sold it for £40 scrap, and sent a third woman bouquets of flowers with her own money and took her on a VIP treat to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - fraudulently charged to her own mother's credit card.

A court heard Flett had 61 previous convictions for fraud and had been involved in many similar Cassanova cons.

The woman whom he took to the Tattoo and her elderly mother, both from Lochgelly, were left £1678 out of pocket.

She met Flett, then calling himself Duncan McConnell, in Edinburgh in July 2019, the court heard.

She took him home and introduced him to her mum.

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Within a month he had run up more than £600 worth of unauthorised transactions on the woman's debit card.

Her mother also found a series of unauthorised debits on her account, for flowers, hotels, and restaurants.

Prosecutor Michael Maguire said: "Over this period her daughter had received two bouquets of flowers from Interflora, with cards from the accused."

Flett also racked up a total of £1028 of debits on the mother's Debenhams store card - including hotel stays, and the tickets for the Tattoo.

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Mr Maguire said: "Of note, her daughter went on a date to the Tattoo with the accused at the end of August 2019.

"She was surprised to find he had booked a box for them, as opposed to the middle seats.

"He told her he had booked it as a treat for her."

He told another Fife woman, whom he met on Plenty of Fish, that his name was Duncan McDonald, he lived in Glenrothes, and he was a delivery driver.

After meeting him in the Fife Arms, Kirkcaldy, she took him home to Methil, Fife.

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On December 6, 2019, she let him use her car, and received a message the next day saying he had been taken to hospital and couldn't return it.

In fact he was meeting another woman at the Miller and Carter Steakhouse in Cramond Brig, Edinburgh.

From there he messaged a breaker's yard saying he had a black Chevrolet Spark he wanted to get rid of as the engine management light had come on.

A salvage dealer met him in the steakhouse carpark and paid him £40 scrap, but "became suspicious" after he winched the Chevvy onto his truck and

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Flett refused a lift back into Edinburgh saying he'd rather get the bus.

Mr Maguire said: "The dealer parked in a slip road and watched the accused walk to the rear of the steakhouse where a car with a female driver pulled up.

"The accused jumped in and they drove off towards Edinburgh together."

On December 18, he met another woman on Plenty of Fish, and she agreed to stay overnight with him the next day at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel at North Queensferry.

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Mr Maguire said: "They had a drink in the bar before going to a bedroom and having consensual sex.

"This was the first time they'd met.

"Afterwards they went back downstairs.

"When she went to look at the restaurant menu she realised she had left her glasses upstairs and he said he would go and retrieve them."

When after 20 minutes she realised he wasn't coming back, she borrowed a pass key and went to their room.

Mr Maguire said: "She found his bags were gone, her car keys had been stolen, and when she went outside her car had been stolen too."

CCTV captured Flett driving off in it.

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The car, a Hyundai 130, was found parked in George Street, Edinburgh, the next day and Flett was arrested in the Kingdom Shopping Centre,

Glenrothes, after a tipoff.

Appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court by video link from Perth Prison, Flett, of Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to fraud and car theft.

He also admitted obtaining board and lodging without paying from the Rutland Hotel, Edinburgh, on November 6, 2019, after booking into a room with a credit card - later declined - and fleeing overnight with the entire £89 contents of the minibar.

Defence solicitor Chris Maitland said: "He has lived a transient lifestyle."

Sheriff Derek Hamilton said: "He's a conman."

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Imposing the 33 month jail term, he told Flett: "This was quite despicable behaviour. You've obviously made a career out of this. You've had custodial sentences in the past - it's about time you had a significant one."

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