A fraudster who stole post from letterboxes in Chester and used the data to open bank accounts and obtain credit cards in his victims’ names has been jailed.
Theophilous Madekurozwa, of East Barnet Road, Barnet, pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud by false representation, three counts of theft and one count of drink driving.
The 40-year-old denied a charge of possessing criminal property but was found guilty of the offence at Chester Crown Court yesterday, Thursday 2 May.
He was subsequently jailed for two years.
The case against Madekurozwa, who has previous convictions for fraud offences, began when an officer was called to a hotel he was staying at on Nuns Road in Chester on Tuesday 2 April.
Madekurozwa kept answering his hotel room door naked and slamming the door in staff members’ faces when they knocked to ask him to leave. He was due to vacate the room at 11am and had not done so.
When the officer knocked on the door he agreed to leave the hotel.
The officer noted that Madekurozwa’s breath smelt of alcohol.
Despite this, Madekurozwa drove away from the hotel in a Mercedes car.
He was subsequently pulled over by the officer on Nicholas Street Mews and arrested on suspicion of drink driving after a breathalyser found him to be nearly four times over the limit.
He had 136 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of his breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
When officers moved the Mercedes into a safer position they noticed several mobile phones and a bank letter addressed to a woman in Chester inside the car.
More bank letters and statements addressed to people in Chester were found when the vehicle was subsequently searched.
An investigation was launched and the full extent of Madekurozwa’s offending was uncovered by detectives.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “The bank letters and statements found in Madekurozwa’s car and our subsequent investigation into his fraudulent activities revealed that he had been opening accounts and obtaining credit cards in other people’s names.
“He is a persistent offender from Barnet but he had been targeting victims in Chester.
“By opening people’s mail he had been able to get the data he needed to commit bank and credit card fraud, and by intercepting the subsequent bank and credit card statements he was able to hide his criminal activities.
“The money he stole was used to fund a lavish lifestyle, which was ultimately his undoing.
“His antics at a hotel and the expensive car, clothes and watch he was wearing when he was arrested for drink driving raised the suspicion of officers and led to his fraudulent activities being uncovered.
“I would like to praise all the officers involved in this case for their sterling work in helping to secure this conviction.
“I am delighted that Madekurozwa has been brought to justice and I hope that the custodial sentence he has been handed deters others from committing similar offences.”
On top of his custodial sentence Madekurozwa was banned from driving for four years and ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.
To report suspected fraud offences call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, give the details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
To report historic fraud offences call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.