West Bromwich man jailed for Covid test and trace scam in Stafford

A West Bromwich man has been jailed for six weeks after he admitted attempting to obtain money while posing as a Covid contact tracer.

Martin Payne, 30, of Turks Head Way, was charged with six counts of committing fraud in dishonestly purporting to be a Covid contact tracer intending to obtain money.

Four charges related to Highfields, in Stafford, on September 21, with further charges in Castle Bank and Western Downs, in Stafford, on the same date.

The court heard Payne had worn a high-visibility bib as part of the deception. He told householders he was collecting on behalf of the NHS, but when challenged about identification he had walked away.

Payne previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, but at a hearing at Cannock Magistrates Court on November 12, he changed his plea to guilty.

He was jailed for six weeks and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £128.

Sergeant Nick Maingay, of Stafford Neighbourhood Policing Team, said “We are grateful to those householders who got in touch and, with the assistance of their accounts and evidence collected by CCTV and doorbell cameras, enabled us to bring this case to court.

“Payne was swiftly arrested and remanded in custody.”

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