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Conman who tricked tourists at UK airport into giving him cash to visit sick relatives jailed; Gary Lyon was caught after he twice pressured people at the airport into giving him money by pretending he needed cash to visit sick relatives.

Byline: Andrew Bardsley

A man who conned tourists returning home at Manchester Airport has been jailed for 16 months.

Gary Lyon was caught after he twice pressured people at the airport into giving him money by pretending he needed cash to visit sick relatives.

Lyon admitted two counts of fraud by false representation. He has previously been convicted for taking [pounds sterling]6,000 of jewellery from his own mother and selling it.

A judge told Lyon he should be ashamed of himself, and put him behind bars for more than a year.

In the first incidence, Lyon approached a 57-year-old businessman at the airport, who was returning from Portugal, in November last year.

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He told the man his car had broken down and he needed to visit his father who was in hospital after suffering a heart attack.

The victim felt sorry for Lyon and handed over [pounds sterling]20 which the defendant said he would use to buy a petrol can and some petrol.

Promising to pay him back, he gave the man a false name and a phone number. When the man realised he may have been the victim of a scam, he called the police.

Lyon struck again just days later, theManchester Evening Newsreported. A 69-year-old woman was waiting in the arrivals hall for her husband, after returning from a trip to Prague to visit her son.

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When her husband arrived they walked to the nearby car park where they were approached by Lyon.

Seeing that the woman's husband was ill, Lyon offered to take her bags and when she refused he grabbed hold of them.

He then said: 'I want a favour from you', and told the woman his father had suffered a heart attack an hour ago and he needed money to visit him.

When the woman told Lyon she didn't have any money he became aggressive and marched her to a cash machine in the arrivals hall.

She withdrew [pounds sterling]40 and gave [pounds sterling]20 to Lyon who insisted that it wasn't enough and said he would get the rest from her husband.

But the woman ran after Lyon and he fled from the scene.

In a victim impact statement read out at Manchester Crown Court the woman said: "I didn't know what he was going to do and I was concerned for our safety. This is why I went along with what he said."

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Thomas McKail, defending Lyon, said he had addiction problems with crack cocaine and alcohol.

Lyon had been hauled before the courts before, in 2014, after a similar con. He duped an 80-year-old woman into handing over [pounds sterling]20 after pretending his daughter had cancer and he needed to visit her at hospital.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Cross told Lyon: "You simply will not learn your lesson. You should know if you commit these offences and you get caught, to jail you will go.

"You displayed the hallmarks of someone who preys on people, who you are able to spot as being vulnerable because you have done it in the past."

As Lyon was sent down, Judge Cross added: "Shame on you."

After the hearing, Detective Constable Alex Wild, of Greater Manchester Police's Airport CID, said: "Lyon preyed on the good nature of innocent people and took advantage of them, faking family illnesses, which no-one would wish on their loved ones.

"It seems he was oblivious to the effect his offending was having on people but today I'm sure it's explicitly clear to him that he is now where he is because of his own sickening actions."


Credit: E+

Lyon approached travellers returning from overseas at Manchester Airport (stock image)

Credit: Contracted Photographer

The judge at Manchester Crown Court said Lyon 'preyed on people'

Credit: Getty Images Europe

The con took place at Manchester Airport
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Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jan 27, 2018
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