A sleight-of-hand fraudster was relieved of his seed-money by one of his intended victims.

Costel Ventel, of St Margarets Road, Ward End, Birmingham, appeared from custody at Haverfordwest magistrates court on Tuesday, June 30.

Ventel, 30, pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud by false representation.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, said the offences occurred in quick succession when Vental and an associate visited Tenby and Saundersfoot.

The court heard that he tried to confuse the cashier at Saundersfoot Post Office on May 17, 2019, by repeatedly asking for a large amount of notes to be changed, but she became suspicious and did not hand over any money.

He then moved on to Tenby Post Office, where he asked for £980 of notes to be changed, but discretely pocketed £480 unseen after they had been counted, and asked for the initial amount to be put into his bank account.

Ventel continue to the town’s HSBC branch where he used sleight-of hand to keep £450 which the cashier thought had been put into the till.

A similar tactic was attempted in Llanelli, but did not succeed.

The court heard that a cashier had held on to the £800 used by Ventel during the Llanelli offence and then handed it over to police.

Mike Irza, defending, said: “He tell me that at this time he was under tremendous financial pressure. His mother is severely ill in Romania.”

Mr Irza added that father-of-five Vental had been held in a detention centre since May, and would have been deported if this matter had not been pending.

Magistrates sent Vental to prison for 24 weeks and ordered him to pay a £122 surcharge.

A restitution order was made to repay the bank and post office.