In the month that some anti-vaxxers were caught selling livestock drugs as a cure for coronavirus, we look back at some of the more recent Hull and East Yorkshire court cases involving despicable cons.

These include fraud cases such as the serial wedding scammer, and the mother who pretended to have terminal cancer and preyed on the compassion of work colleagues to pay for a VIP trip to Disneyland.

Other cases involving devious cons include the man who tried to skive off unpaid community hours for a previous conviction by pretending he had coronavirus.

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All ages listed are correct at the time of sentencing.

The drug dealer who tried to pass off hedge trimmings as Spice

Ajay Windass tried to pass off hedge trimmings as the drug 'Spice'.
Ajay Windass tried to pass off hedge trimmings as the drug 'Spice'.

Ajay Windass 24, of Cavill Place, Hull, was found in an undercover police sting to be selling smaller amounts of "zombie" Spice for the same price and then at one stage, tried to pass off hedge trimmings as the drug.

Windass admitted four offences of supplying Spice and another of offering to supply Spice.

He supplied 7.08g of Spice for £10 on November 3, 2020 and handed over a piece of paper to the undercover officer.

A further deal followed of 4.12g of Spice on November 5 for £10, then another of 3.19g on November 17 for £10 and a further one of 2.8g on November 20, also for £10.

On December 10 last year he went further and attempted to pass off hedge trimmings as Spice.

He was arrested in April after covert police pictures identified him and consequently missed the birth of his first child due to his criminal activities.

The 24-year-old had 10 previous convictions and was on licence after being jailed for offences of burglary, intimidating a witness and criminal damage.

He received a 14 month sentence. Click here to read more

The serial wedding scammer

Dana Twidale, who conned brides and grooms, is one of several high-profile Hull women to be jailed
Dana Twidale, who conned brides and grooms, is one of several high-profile Hull women to be jailed

Dana Twidale conned multiple brides and grooms out of their wedding savings and left a man who she met on Tinder "an emotional and financial wreck", in the words of the sentencing judge.

Her fraudulent activities began in August 2017 and only ended in July 2019, when caught in Benidorm sunning herself by the pool and enjoying her dishonest gains.

She defrauded the man she met on Tinder of £42,000, sickeningly falsely claiming she was a domestic abuse victim and that she needed money to pay for her mother's funeral.

Twidale, 44, of Newtown Court in east Hull, fraudulently obtained a further £15,000 from 25 different victims whose weddings days she ruined.

In one case, a couple paid £2,470 to Twidale to organise their wedding, which included a marquee.

Just three days before the big day, they discovered that the marquee, tables and chairs had not been delivered.

Dana Twidale was a genuine wedding planner before she began to con couples in order to fund a gambling addiction.

Her victims set up a Facebook group and the net closed in, leading the 44-year-old to flee to Spain.

She was sentenced to five years in jail after admitting to 26 counts of fraud. Click here to read more

The cold-caller who made up roofing problems to defraud vulnerable elderly people

Gerald Johnston
Gerald Johnston

Goole serial fraudster Gerald Johnston cold-called vulnerable and elderly people and pretended they needed urgent roofing work done.

He drove them to withdraw cash from their accounts to settle his inflated bills and in one case marched a blind elderly man to a village post office to withdraw some of the money.

However, this specific fraud proved Johnston's downfall as he was caught on CCTV by trading standards, who had investigated his previous offending.

Trading Standards had prosecuted Johnston in October 2017 for similar fraud offences, resulting in a 12-month sentence suspended for two years.

That conviction expired two days before he was caught defrauding the blind man in the Selby area.

Johnston, of Carlton Travellers Site near Goole, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and engaging in a misleading practice in March earlier this year.

He was sentenced to two years behind bars and given a five-year criminal behaviour order banning him from undertaking roofing or property repairs in the UK.

Click here to read more

Callous con couple who broke war hero's heart

Steven and Sarah Kantecki were each jailed for four years and nine months
Steven and Sarah Kantecki were each jailed for four years and nine months

Married carers Stephen and Sarah Kantecki raided a trusting 96-year-old man's life savings and spent their ill-gotten gains on designer clothes, aftershave, watches and cash withdrawals.

Driven "by sheer greed and avarice" and using "emotional blackmail", they deprived the man of between £181,000 and £184,000.

More than 60 watches and over 200 bottles of perfume were bought by the couple and in court their home was described as "like a department store".

Recorder Ian Mullarkey said that the victim, a former soldier, was a gentle-natured person and had been described as a "lovely man".

Steven Kantecki, 44, and his wife, Sarah Kantecki, 39, denied theft at Bridlington between April 1, 2019 and September 8 last year but were convicted by a jury at Hull Crown Court following a trial.

Their lies continued when caught - Sarah Kantecki was also convicted of perverting the course of justice by writing a letter to the victim asking him to drop the case.

Her husband initially tried to pretend that he had been set-up by the victim's family, but chose not to give evidence at his trial.

Both had previously worked in the care sector for over twenty years. Click here to read more

The woman who scammed even her husband into thinking she had terminal cancer

Former call centre worker Stephanie Hunter, who was jailed for 15 months
Former call centre worker Stephanie Hunter, who was jailed for 15 months

Lying mother Stephanie Hunter, 32, of Freemantle Avenue, Hull, pretended that she was battling terminal cancer and had been given just 18 months to live to prey on the charity of others.

She even completely fooled her husband and took him to funeral directors to make arrangements for her funeral.

In 2016, the mother-of-three worked as a telesales agent for ResQ in George Street, Hull.

She reported as sick for work, provided a sick note for 21 days and pretended that she had cancer and needed lung surgery.

Her lies led to work colleagues organising fundraising drives to help pay for a VIP trip to Disneyland Paris with her children.

She never worked a full week from January to September 2017.

In January 2017, to keep up the pretence, she shaved her head and wore a headscarf, as well as telling a payroll manager that she had discharged herself from hospital to attend a work shift.

Read more: 45 million people targeted by scam calls and texts this summer

A total of £10,446 was raised by her colleagues to pay for her Disneyland Paris VIP trip, which included first class train travel and five star hotel accommodation.

The idea of contacting the Hull Daily Mail was suggested but, pointedly, Hunter "thought this was a bad idea".

Hunter finally admitted it was all a lie after the trip when social services became involved after a member of the public raised concerns about her children.

She admitted fraud and perverting the course of justice.

The 32-year-old sobbed as she was sentenced to 15 months in jail. Click here to read more

The credit controller who fleeced her employer to pay off debts

Sangwin premises in east Hull, the company who was the victim of Dawn Morgan's, 62, fraud.
Sangwin premises in east Hull, the company who was the victim of Dawn Morgan's, 62, fraud.

Diane Morgan, 62, fleeced her Hull employer of £44,500 when her debts grew out of control.

Last month, she avoided prison having paid back in instalments some of what she fraudulently took.

She was a credit controller at Sangwin Group, of east Hull, between 2013 and 2019, and diverted cash to her own bank account by asking clients to make payments to her bank instead.

The company's credit card was also used by Morgan for her personal use.

The 62-year-old admitted fraud and her sentence had been deferred at Hull Crown Court on April 21 to allow her to repay the money at £250 a month.

By the time of her deferred hearing in September, Morgan had paid back a further £1,000, bringing the total she had repaid to £11,800.

"You have kept your side of the bargain and I will keep mine," said Recorder Gavin Doig when handing her a two-year suspended prison sentence and 20 days' rehabilitation.

A proceeds of court hearing was to be held this month to decide on the remaining missing cash. Click here to read more

Gran who funded luxury shopping addiction by raiding Hull friend's bank account

Ruth Bean abused her position of trust

Debt-ridden Ruth Bean, 64, of Whitebeam Close, Hull, stole more than £20,000 from a friend of 13 years to fund her luxury shopping addiction.

The grandma-of-six spent the money on a holiday, premium fishing gear for her husband and house furnishings.

She met her victim through the pair of them being Salvation Army volunteers.

As her victim's mental health declined, it was agreed that Ruth Bean would look after her finances, but the 64-year-old carried out an "appalling and grossly dishonest breach of trust".

Read more: Christmas scams warning: What to watch out for

Bean's crimes only came to light when the victim's housing manager noted in bank statements payments at stores she had never been to.

The prosecution said it could never be determined the exact amount that Ruth Bean stole from her friend.

In her defence, Bean said that she started by pocketing £10 for herself each time she went shopping for the victim.

This amount gradually increased to fund debts caused by her "compulsive spending addiction".

Recorder Felicity Davies sentenced Bean to 16 months in jail for fraud.

Click here to read more

Hull man who tried Covid-19 con to get his way out of unpaid community work

Declan Sylvester was branded a 'wannabe Rambo'

Declan Sylvester, 24, of Newland Avenue, Hull, was sentenced to jail in March after he pretended he had Covid-19 to avoid doing unpaid community work for a previous conviction.

Sylvester threatened to shoot a group of teenagers with an air rifle in a violent rage after his son's bike was stolen in May 2019.

It later turned out the teenagers who he petrified had nothing to do with the bike theft.

The 24-year-old was sentenced in January 2020 12 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, as well as 15 compulsory rehabilitation activity days and 150 hours of unpaid community work.

He only completed 15 hours of the unpaid community work before refusing to work and then pretended to have coronavirus.

Sylvester was sent to jail in March 2021 for seven months for breaching the terms of his suspended sentence. Click here to read more

The duo who targeted an 82-year-old woman to prolong a three day drug bender

Helen Wray (left) and Claire Ellis (right) have been jailed

Claire Ellis and Helen Wray each tricked an elderly woman in their 80s in order to steal money from them.

On August 30 2019, the pair worked as a team to enter an 82-year-old disabled woman's home.

They had taken drugs for three days straight and were "running out of money for their next fix".

Ellis, 46, was known to the victim and used her prior association to trick the elderly woman that water in the area was not working.

She led the victim out into the garden while Wray, 54, crept into the house to steal £20 and a phone.

Helen Wray was sentenced in Hull Crown Court and admitted plotting with Claire Ellis the burglary.
Helen Wray was sentenced in Hull Crown Court and admitted plotting with Claire Ellis the burglary.

It was heard in court that the day before this burglary, Helen Wray tricked a different elderly woman with limited mobility.

She offered to buy her shopping, but in the process stole £30 from a cash machine using the woman's card and PIN.

Less than a month later, she visited the elderly woman again, this time to beg for food as she had "not eaten for four days".

Helen Wray was fed and given money, but was caught when her victim noticed her bank card had been moved.

While the 52-year-old Wray eventually admitted the pair had planned together the burglary of the 82-year-old woman, Claire Ellis denied the burglary and was found guilty by jury.

Mr Recorder Monteith QC said that the burglary was a "disgusting" act by both Wray and Ellis.

He also admonished Ellis for nodding along to this in court, commenting, "I see you nodding at the back of the court - it was only yesterday [December 17, during her trial] that you were telling us that you were innocent".

Claire Ellis was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail and Helen Wray was imprisoned for two years and ten months. Click here to read more

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