A man who conned two Bridport people out of thousands pounds has been jailed for four years for a series of fraud and blackmail offences.

Liam Michael Proctor, from Weymouth, befriended a man in his 40s on Facebook in August 2018 and asked him if wanted to make some easy money.

Proctor, aged 25 and of St Leonard's Road, stated if the man gave him £1,400 he would be able to make it into £4,500 by the end of the week. The victim, from Bridport, gave Proctor the money but never heard anything further from him.

A further series of requests for money were made to the victim by Proctor, who cited a different reason on each occasion. He also made the victim believe that he was going to be receiving a Ford Focus in exchange for some of the money. In total, Proctor obtained £15,238 from the man over a 12-month period.

During this time, Proctor asked to borrow an iPhone 8 that belonged to the victim. He did not return the phone, despite being asked numerous times.

Proctor used the iPhone to message one of the contacts stored on the victim’s phone. He pretended to be the victim and asked for £100 to be put through a letter box, which the contact did as he believed the victim needed the money.

Proctor was arrested on Friday 23 August 2019 at an address in Bridport. During a search of the property, officers located the stolen iPhone 8.

In July 2019 Proctor befriended another male victim from Bridport on Facebook messenger and told him that he could make him some money buying and selling fish for a profit.

Proctor asked for a series of payments to be made into a bank account. He also blackmailed the victim in an attempt to make him continue paying the money into the account.

Proctor was also sentenced in relation to a fraud by false representation incident in March 2019 where he befriended a man over their mutual hobby of snooker. He asked if the man wanted to buy tickets to an event from him, before requesting a series of further payments claiming that they were for a ticket upgrade and a hotel booking. The victim never received the tickets and established that a hotel booking was never made for him. Proctor fraudulently obtained a total of £1,073 from the victim.

The defendant was further sentenced in relation to a blackmail offence that occurred between 25 August and 12 September 2019. Proctor falsely claimed to be a woman and shared explicit messages with a man, which he later threatened to make public unless the victim paid him £3,000.

Proctor appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court on Wednesday September 9 and pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation, three counts of blackmail and one theft offence, and was jailed for four years.

Detective Constable Jo Blackmore, of Weymouth CID, said: “Liam Proctor was a prolific offender in the West Dorset area who manipulated all of his victims in order to obtain money.

“I am really pleased that through our investigations we were able to bring him before the courts and prevent him from committing any further offences.

“I would like to thank the victims for coming forward and reporting these incidents to police, which caused them considerable distress and upset.

“Finally, I would like to remind the public that these victims are protected by reporting restrictions and there should be no commentary on social media that will identify them.”