Shoppers duped out of £270 when they second-hand iPhones from youths in Leicester
Two shoppers were duped when they bought two second-hand Apple iPhones that turned out to be dummies.
The women were approached in the city centre by a 16-year-old boy and his accomplice, who gave the shoppers a sob story about having no money to pay their rent.
The tricksters demonstrated genuine iPhones to the unsuspecting women while discussing the deal.
Feeling sorry for the youths, and thinking they had a bargain, the women agreed to buy a phone each and withdrew the money from a cashpoint in Horsefair Street.
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The defendant, who cannot be named because of a court order, told the victims he had turned off the phones' power "to save the battery life" as they were handed over.
But the 16-year-old and his associate had discreetly switched the genuine phones to useless dummies, Leicester Crown Court was told.
Alan Murphy, prosecuting, said the women soon realised they had "completely worthless fake phones" which would not switch on properly.
He said: "Both were very upset and felt cheated.
"One of the victims bought the iPhone for her son's birthday, and was then left with no funds to get him anything."
The victims lost £270 between them.
The women returned to the city centre the next day and chanced upon the two youths trying to pull the same scam on someone else and informed the police.
The defendant, from Leicester, was chased and caught in Market Place. He was carrying a genuine iPhone as well as a fake.
The teenager admitted fraud by false representation on August 18 last year, and possessing articles for use in fraud when arrested.
He was sentenced to a 12-month youth rehabilitation order, with supervision.
The court heard he had a similar previous conviction for selling a fake iPhone in Birmingham city centre.
Recorder Marcus Tregilgas-Davey told the youth: "You were clearly targeting people you thought you could dupe.
"These women were £270 the worse off for your scam.
"One of them was deeply upset because she was left with no money to buy her son's birthday present.
"Imagine if someone did that to your mother, how would you feel?
"That's what you did to someone else.
"This is your last chance."
The juvenile's accomplice was arrested at the same time, but has since jumped bail and a warrant has been issued for this arrest.