A conman who struck at homes in the Black Country gave himself up after 16 years on the run when his conscience got the better of him, a court heard.
But Raymond Bullock had been at large for so long that the police could find no records relating to his escape from justice and sent him away.
It was not until the 60-year-old fraudster went on a crime spree in the West Midlands and Liverpool that his past caught up with him. Walsall magistrates were told it was a most unusual case and Bullock wanted to clear the slate and move on.
Bullock, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty yesterday to five charges of fraud by false representation.
Miss Jenny Windsor, prosecuting, said Bullock called at four addresses in Walsall between July 1and 4 this year, claiming to be a builder and offering to do jobs. In each case he secured deposits of up to £100 and agreed a start date but never returned.
On July 25, he swindled a 70-year-old disabled man in Liverpool in the same way. Later that day he approached a police officer and told him he was wanted for offences in the West Midlands.
“In effect, he gave himself up,” said Miss Windsor.
The court heard that he was in breach of a conditional discharge for a similar offence in Dudley and that in 1996 he was jailed for 42 months at Birmingham Crown Court for eight cases of gaining property by deception with a further 114 offences taken into consideration.
Mr Harbinder Gahir, defending, said Bullock was freed on day release the following year but never went back.
In September last year he had tried to give himself in in London but was told that it appeared he was no longer a wanted man.
Bullock returned to the West Midlands and on to Liverpool where his criminal past was finally revealed and he was arrested.
Mr Gahir said: “His conscience got the better of him. Although the values involved were very low, these were all elderly people and he did not fulfil his obligations to them.
“But he would not be here now if he had not made a full and frank admission. What happened is in the past and he wants to move on with his life. It’s an unusual case.”
Magistrates jailed him for six months to run concurrently with his remaining prison sentence which is due to run to 2016.