Warnings About On-Line Romance Fraud After Preston Man Jailed

Further warnings about the dangers of on-line romance fraudsters have been issued following the jailing of a Preston man who actually visited his victims before stealing from them.

Sergeant Craig Morgan, from Dyfed Powys Police, said, ‘This was a very unusual case, and one unlike typical reports of romance fraud, where victims never actually meet offenders in person.’

Oliver Anthony Alexander, 44, from Preston in Lancashire, persuaded the ‘vulnerable’ women to let him stay at their homes shortly after starting relationships with them. After gaining their trust he then betrayed them, leaving them feeling ‘guilty’ and ‘naïve’. Police said. ‘’Rather than asking his victims to send money to a bank account, Alexander was actually charming his way into their homes through a series of lies, and taking the first opportunity he could to steal from them.” Alexander – who was discovered to have a number of aliases – has been jailed for twelve months.

Officers were first made aware of his offences on Saturday 17 July, 2021 when a woman reported a theft from her home after meeting Alexander online. She explained that after letting him stay at her home in Powys for a week, he left with a gold wedding ring and suit belonging to her late father and her television set.

Later that day, a second woman arrived at a police station reporting that she too had allowed Alexander to move into her home. However, she had grown suspicious of his behaviour and asked officers to help get him to leave.

Two officers visited the woman’s home and searched Alexander’s car, where they found the stolen suit and television reported missing by the first woman. An iPad was also found, belonging to a woman who had allowed Alexander to stay with her two months previously. Police also discovered numerous contact details for women and love letters.

Enquiries established that Alexander had changed his name by deed poll from Oliver Alexander Davenport to Oliver Anthony Alexander, and that his original name was Joshua Jamie McKenna. He was discovered to have a vast offending history, including a conviction for a sexually aggravated assault.

Alexander was charged with two counts of theft the day after his arrest. He has admitted the offences at Merthyr Magistrates’ Court, and has been sentenced to 12 months in prison – six months for each offence. He was also handed restraining orders against the two victims, lasting two years.

Sergeant Craig Morgan, from Dyfed Powys Police explained, ‘Alexander is clearly a prolific offender who preys on vulnerable women by telling them a series of lies to make out he is someone he’s not. He has crossed police borders to commit offences and charmed his victims who trusted that they were in genuine relationships with him. I would like to thank the victims for their honestly and strength in reporting these offences, and hope the sentence offers some comfort.”

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