A FRAUDSTER hoodwinked nearly £300 in one day by confusing inexperienced city shop assistants when asking to change banknotes at the till.

John Webster, who was appearing in court via video link from prison, was given an extra six months inside for his part in the scam which was undertaken with an accomplice.

The 31-year-old took money from Card Factory, Greggs and Savers in The Shambles, as well as Shakeaway in Pump Street and Asda in St Martins Gate on April 26.

The largest sum of £146 was taken from Card Factory, while at Greggs a specially-made sandwich was ordered to distract the manager who left the till in the hands of a younger staff member.

Nicola Ritchie, prosecuting, said all the offences “had the same aim” with the pair asking for “various notes to be changed from the till” and doing their best to confuse the assistant.

Nick Roberts, defending, said his client “takes no point” with anything said, but described the offences as “quite amateurish”, adding: “It’s not his fault if a manager leaves younger staff while he goes to check things.”

At the time, Webster had been out of prison for two and a half years and, having just lost his job, had been told about the scam by a friend and “stupidly went along with it”, said Mr Roberts.

The court heard the defendant and his accomplice were arrested about 2.30pm on the day of the offences and were found to have £355 in banknotes on them.

Jayne Stewart, of the probation service, said Webster had previously been recalled to prison in relation to a different offence and had spent six months unlawfully at large before being arrested in April. That prison term finishes in November.

Webster, of Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, accepted five charges of fraud when appearing at Worcester Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Stephen Webster, who is charged with the same offences, was not present at court and his hearing was adjourned until August 8.