A CONMAN stole hundreds of pounds from a woman looking for love after persuading her to lend him cash.

Joshua Chadwick befriended the 25-year-old mum on social media and the pair arranged to go on a date.

But Minshull Street Crown Court heard how, the day before the meeting, scheming Chadwick asked her to transfer £450 to him, which he would pay back immediately via an American Express card he showed her.

" His explanation was that he received an allowance from his father but his father gave him a spending limit and made checks on him," said David Lees, prosecuting.

He then showed her a screenshot of what looked like an automated response from his bank stating that he was transferring £650 to her, but he never completed the transaction. He even claimed he had overpaid by £200 and wanted the cash back.

"He then sent messages saying his dad was fuming and he had to get the extra £200 back," said Mr Lees.

Chadwick, aged 24, turned up at her house and, after they had sex, she gave him her cash card and pin number which he used to withdraw £300.

"She describes the whole situation as surreal and she was worried what would happen if she didn't do as she was asked," said Mr Lees.

When arrested Chadwick, of Hillside Road, Ramsbottom, initially denied committing any crime and maintained he was still owed £200.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to fraud and two counts of theft.

The court heard that Barclay's Bank has refunded the victim.

In a statement the victim told the court how she has since been treated for depression.

"I have regular nightmares about Josh. I dream about what happened and I see his face and he is laughing at me," she said.

Mark Shanks, defending, said construction worker Chadwick did not have a stable life in November 2018 when the offence was committed but now is a difference person with a stronger support network.

Judge Elizabeth Nicholls sentenced Chadwick to eight months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered he participate in an intensive community programme which includes 100 hours of unpaid work, 20 days of rehabilitation activities and 26 sessions of thinking skills.

He must also repay the £750 he stole.

The judge told Chadwick: "In essence you are a conman and the offence you committed was very mean.

"It will have undoubtedly had a distressing and an unpleasant effect upon the victim and it's right that you sit in a criminal dock and hear me say that."