An 81-year-old woman had her life savings stolen by a conman she took into her home and “treated like a son”. 

The woman invited 36-year-old David Chambers to live at her home rent-free, feeling sorry for him as he was out of work and his marriage had broken down. 

But Chambers took advantage of her generosity - spending all the money in her bank accounts, stealing her jewellery and taking out a £26,000 finance agreement for a Mercedes in her name. 

And this is not the only time that the fraudster has targeted the elderly. 

Previously Chambers turned up at a 92-year-old woman’s home with an NHS lanyard and told her he was there to administer a Covid-19 vaccine. 

He then pricked her on the arm with a dart-like implement and told her she owed him £140. 

For that offence he was given a three-and-a-half year sentence in August 2021. He was released from prison in June 2022. 

When Chambers, of Swallow Park Close in Surbiton, was sentenced for his callous crimes against the 81-year-old woman on Wednesday (April 10) he avoided a prison sentence. 

Meanwhile the victim said she has not seen a penny of the £32,000 she lost and has had to “seriously tighten her belt”. 

Your Local Guardian: Conman David Chambers pictured leaving Croydon Crown Court as a free manConman David Chambers pictured leaving Croydon Crown Court as a free man (Image: NQ)

‘I treated him like a son’ 

Chambers appeared at Croydon Crown Court for sentencing after he pleaded guilty to fraud and theft. 

The offences dated back to 2018. Judge Elizabeth Lowe said that the Metropolitan Police were responsible for the “lion’s share” of the six-year delay in this case. 

Prosecutor Martin Ingle opened the facts of the case. 

The elderly victim, a retired lecturer living in Sutton, had met Chambers when his dad did some building work for her years ago. 

“She got to know him and around October 2017 she allowed him to move into her home, feeling sorry for him as he was out of work and his marriage had broken down,” Mr Ingle said. 

She let him live in her home rent-free, paid for his food and loaned him money with the aim of helping him get back on his feet. 

When she became very ill and was unable to go shopping herself, she gave Chambers permission to use her bank cards to buy groceries. 

Little did she know, Chambers then used her cards to buy various unauthorised items and to feed his drug addiction. 

When she went to her high street bank in June 2018 she was told that all of her accounts had been cleared and she had no money left, Mr Ingle told the court. 

After reporting this to police, she went home to pack an overnight bag and stay at a friend until she could get the locks changed. 

She then discovered the precious jewellery which had been hidden in the room Chambers was staying in had been stolen. 

Police enquiries at local pawn shops revealed that Chambers had flogged her precious jewellery for cut prices. Some, but not all, of the jewellery was recovered. 

The victim said: “It was an extremely upsetting betrayal, as I had treated him as a son or a grandson.” 

Your Local Guardian: David ChambersDavid Chambers (Image: City of London Police)

'I’ve had to seriously tighten my belt’ 

Prosecutor Mr Ingle said the victim had also given Chambers various loans. 

“She had given him a £5,000 which he said would be used for building materials for a roofing job which would make him £18,000,” Mr Ingle said. 

“It was agreed that this was a loan he would repay, but later he told her the woman he did the work for hadn’t paid him.” 

Later Chambers told the elderly woman he had been offered a job as a chauffeur but needed a new car which he couldn’t afford, Mr Ingle said. 

“She gave him £2,000 to get a new car, but he set up a £26,000 finance agreement for a Mercedes in her name.” 

In her victim impact statement she said: “I’ve had no compensation whatsoever. I’ve had to seriously tighten my belt.” 

The total value of her loss was estimated at £32,000. 

She said she’s had to borrow money against her home but won’t be able to borrow any more. 

The victim said: “I was quite unwell at the time with ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) and the stress that followed exacerbated my health problems.” 

Vaccine fraudster 

After ripping off this 81-year-old woman, Chambers went on to target another elderly lady. 

In December 2020 when the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the UK he turned up at her door told her he was from the NHS and there to administer the Covid 19 vaccine. The victim allowed him inside her home and was reportedly touched on the arm with what she described as a "dart-like implement". 

He then asked her for, and received, £140, saying it would be reimbursed by the NHS, before leaving. 

Just days later Chambers went to the victim’s address again and asked for a further £100. 

A police appeal was launched and Chambers went on the run but he was subsequently arrested at a friend’s house. 

The 92-year-old victim said: "I’ve lived in Surbiton all my life and I have never been subjected to such a deceitful and horrific crime. 

"It has been a difficult few months coming to terms with the reality that someone could go to such lengths to defraud a person. 

“Knowing first hand someone would use the Covid 19 vaccination process to scam money from the elderly is very harrowing. 

“This person posed as an NHS employee with a fake lanyard and gained access to my home.” 

Chambers was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Kingston Crown Court in August 2021. 

He was also handed a seven-year criminal behaviour order that restricts him from approaching members of the public and offering any type of work service. 

Your Local Guardian: A CCTV image of David Chambers released by police after his Covid conA CCTV image of David Chambers released by police after his Covid con (Image: City of London Police)

‘A life blighted by illegal drugs’ 

Chambers was released from prison in June 2022. After his release he pleaded guilty to fraud and theft regarding the 81-year-old victim. 

On Wednesday (April 10) barrister Ed Butler argued that the judge should take an “unusual course” and suspended Chambers' sentence due to the length of time since the offence. 

Mr Butler said: “The reality is that if your honour was sentencing Mr Chambers after trial, or if your honour was sentencing three, four or five years ago there is absolutely no doubt about what type of sentence he would receive. 

“But this is a defendant who is now being sentenced six years and two prison sentences later.” 

He continued: “His life up until fairly recently has all the hallmarks of a life blighted by illegal drugs, but he has now been released and finally seems to have got his life back on the right tracks.” 

Mr Butler said Chambers lives on Universal Credit and has saved up £450 to give to the victim. 

‘A drop in the ocean’ 

Sentencing Chambers, Judge Lowe said: “You should appreciate that the only reasons I have any options open to me at all in this case is because, A, it’s been such a long time since the commission of these offences, B, you have in the meantime served a significant custodial sentence, and C, that you have demonstrated some remorse for your actions.” 

She continued: “I’ve thought long and hard about this case and I am just about persuaded that there is a realistic rehabilitation opportunity.” 

Chambers was given a 23 month custodial sentence suspended for two years, meaning he will not see the inside of a cell unless he breaches the terms of his sentence. 

Judge Lowe said: “I am told that over the last six months you have been able to save around £450. It’s reasonable to assume that this is something you could sustain going forwards, and I think you should because I think [the victim] is unlikely to be compensated by anyone else.” 

She directed that over the next two years Chambers must pay £1,800 in compensation to the victim. 

“I know this will be a drop in the ocean as far as she’s concerned,” Judge Lowe said.