A CONMAN who scammed the county council's children's services out of more than £100,000 has been jailed.

Shameless crook James Davies, of Fulwell Close, Banbury, swindled Oxfordshire County Council by continuing to receive child fostering payments for more than five years.

In the scam the 54-year-old continued to pocket the huge sum which was regularly paid to him and his partner for fostering children, despite the child having left the home.

Davies had already admitted one count of fraud by false representation and another of using criminal property.

Oxford Crown Court heard at his sentencing hearing yesterday how Davies together with his wife had been the fosterers of a child.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Sarah Gaunt said that after that child had left the home Davies continued to receive regular payments and did not notify the council he was no longer entitled to them.

Between November 2012 and February 2018 Davies pocketed a total of £117,316.53 in payments he was not entitled to.

Hundreds of remittance slips were also posted to the address, and some 600 of these went to Davies and his partner during this period.

The court also heard that Davies has one previous conviction, for failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

In mitigation at yesterday's hearing defence barrister Jane Brady said that her client had admitted his guilt as soon as possible at the crown court.

She added that he also suffered from health difficulties and had been taking anti-depressants.

Speaking of the offence, she said he had 'turned a blind eye' and 'stuck his head in the sand' and added: "He has shown complete and genuine remorse".

Sentencing, Judge Tom Rochford said that the severity of the offence meant he had to impose an immediate custodial sentence.

He said: "I am afraid taking this sort of quantity of money, particularly from a public body, from their budget designed to look after young people, is an offence that society regards as a serious matter.

"And you particularly with your experience of fostering should have appreciated and understood that.

"This is a case where you didn't set out to commit fraud, it is a case where the money was legitimately paid to you at the start.

"And you allowed the mistake and you allowed the money to continue to be paid to you.

"The case is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified."

Davies was jailed for a total of 25 months, made up of 25 months for the fraud to run concurrently with 18 months for the use of criminal property.

He must also pay compensation totalling £750 and a statutory victim surcharge.