A GANG who preyed on elderly people - including a Huddersfield pensioner - have been jailed.
The three con artists were trapped after a local newspaper photographer captured them on film after becoming concerned about their behaviour.
Alison Layne, Martin O'Keefe and Terence Hodson were locked up at Sheffield Crown Court after admitting conspiracy to obtain money by deception.
Police called their crimes "despicable" and Judge Roger Keen QC told the three: "You are all guilty of the grossest, callous deception of the elderly who placed their trust in you."
The trio carried out crimes in South and West Yorkshire.
Layne, 32, and 49-year-old O'Keefe were each sentenced to two years and eight months' jail while Hodson, 42, was locked up for two-and-a-half years.
The court heard the trio conned almost £13,000 out of a 71-year-old Huddersfield man.
He had been befriended by Hodson, of Bronte Close, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.
Layne, of Dodworth Road, Barnsley, also admitted stealing a purse from a woman who lived close to her Barnsley home.
Prosecutor Iain Hillis said Hodson, using the assumed name of Terry Johnson, struck up a friendship with pensioner Keith Lockwood, borrowing £2,000 from him.
He then faked his own death and Layne posed as a solicitor's clerk to gain Mr Lockwood's bank details, telling the pensioner the money he had loaned to Hodson would be repaid into his account.
In fact, Layne went several times with poor-sighted Mr Lockwood to a branch of the Yorkshire Bank, where he unwittingly signed for her to withdraw cash.
Mr Hillis said: "He did not know what he was signing but went on trust of Layne. He thought the money was going to be invested for him by Layne and a firm of solicitors."
The scam ended when a member of the bank's staff became suspicious at the frequent withdrawals and at Layne's appearance. Checks revealed her credentials to be false.
A request for a £15,000 bankers draft was refused - but by then Mr Lockwood had lost £12,500 to £13,000, the court heard.