A FRAUDSTER who stole more than £21,000 from his housebound grandmother to pay for drugs has avoided jail.

Martin Froggatt moved in with the lady, who was in her late 80s at the time, after she suffered a debilitating stroke.

The 49-year-old was given her bank card and asked to make withdrawals on her behalf.

But over a two-year period he would take extra cash for himself in order to fund his £300 per day crack cocaine and heroin addiction.

In total, he made 393 fraudulent transactions and stole £21,206.10.

During his spree between 2015 and 2017, Froggatt, of Crossfield Road, Clacton, would also ask his uncle - the victim’s son - for cash and made up excuses about what he was spending it on.

The victim told police she was hurt to have to call them when she realised what was happening and thought Froggatt deserved a jail sentence but hoped he could beat his drug problems and improve his life.

He admitted fraud by abuse of position.

Raj Joshi, mitigating, said Froggatt had turned to drugs following the breakup of his marriage and had attracted debts of up to £70,000.

However, he is now clean having spent time at a residential rehabilitation facility.

Judge David Turner QC suspended his 15 month sentence at Chelmsford Crown Court, citing the efforts he had made to turn his life around.

“You lied to her and cynically deceived her,” he said.

“You cheated her disgracefully -this was a shameful betrayal.

“The cost has been high.

“How can anyone expect her to be anything other than shattered by her eldest grandson behaving in this way.

“She has been devastated.

“You have become estranged and it has caused significant problems within your family.”

He must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation days.

The victim has received the majority of the her cash back thanks to her bank.