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Conman jailed for scamming passengers out of money with premature baby lies

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A crying conman scammed generous train passengers out of cash with a pack of lies, including one about having a poorly baby boy in hospital.
 
Antony Loveridge, 30, would make sure passengers heard him crying and speaking on the phone while on trains in the south coast area.
 
During these phone calls he would loudly claim he had a premature son in hospital and needed money for charity accommodation, so he could sleep close by. 
 
Loveridge also tearfully claimed he was homeless, had lost his job and said his partner had falsely undergone surgery days earlier.
 
In total, he conned eight people out of cash, taking £212. Each one paid money in hopes he would use the cash for the accommodation.  
 
Loveridge, of Kendal Avenue in Southampton, was arrested after police traced him when he gave his name and phone number to a victim.
 
He has since been jailed for two years. 
 
Concerned victims found out they had been conned when they called the accommodation and asked after Loveridge and his family’s welfare. 
 
Some wanted to offer more money and others intended to criticize the charity for not doing more to solve Loveridge’s troubles.
 
They were told he was never staying at their accommodation and this was a common scam he used.
 
After his arrest, officers discovered he did have a son who had been born prematurely many months before he started his scamming spree – however the boy’s condition was never considered life threatening and he had been discharged from hospital. 
 
It became clear Loveridge had exaggerated his experience with a premature baby and persistently used it to scam people out of money between September 2018 and October 2019.
 
The boy is no longer under Loveridge’s care
 
During interview the conman admitted using the wrongfully gained cash to fuel a drug habit.
 
He pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud and was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court on Wednesday 8 January.
 
British Transport Police PC Jeremy Adlam said: “He used his experience of having a premature baby to bolster a series of lies, crying loudly and broadcasting them throughout train carriages in hopes he would tug at someone’s heartstrings and push them to hand over money. 
 
“It’s a credit to the victim’s that they tried to help Loveridge and I hope this experience won’t stop them being as charitable in the future. 
 
“It’s a huge shame that someone would use a powerful and emotive lie, such as an ill child, to con caring people. It’s appalling, and I believe this is reflected in his sentence.”

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