A DRINKER has pleaded guilty to defrauding a Dunkirk and Arnhem veteran and stealing thousands of pounds from him.

Vincent Joseph Morgan, 45, spent hours causing a nuisance in the cells below York Crown Court before entering his plea.

He had arrived at court so drunk he had initially been sent away, but after the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, had ordered him into the dock, police had gone in search of him and brought him into the building.

The judge remanded him in custody overnight after declaring he was unfit to enter his pleas.

Morgan was charged with defrauding Raymond Whitwell, now 103, stealing from him and handling a stolen Battle of Britain brochure belonging to him.

Mr Whitwell, who now lives in Malton, was part of the rearguard of the British Expeditionary Force as it retreated to Dunkirk in 1940. He eventually made it to the beaches, but too late to be evacuated and spent more than a week in occupied France before he was able to escape to Britain.

He returned to the continent after serving in North Africa and was part of the Battle of Arnhem in 1944 when he and his colleagues went for days without food.

After a night at Hull Prison, Morgan, in a sober state, returned to York Crown Court.

He told the judge: “I apologise. I was on medication and must have reacted with it terribly.”

The judge replied: “I had to listen all afternoon to you kicking off in the cells. You ought to apologise to the jailors. I accept your apology.”

Morgan’s barrister Robert Mochrie told the judge: “He has a longstanding drink problem. He gets himself completely drunk and then engages in threatening and abusive behaviour.

“Your Honour and the jailors were on the receiving end of that all yesterday.”

Morgan, of St Leonard’s Close, Malton, pleaded guilty to three counts. He admitted fraud by making a false representation to Mr Whitwell that he would only withdraw £30 from the veteran’s account on each occasion, handling stolen goods by having an A4 sized envelope containing the Battle of Britain brochure and stealing £4,240 from Mr Whitwell.

All the offences were committed between August 29, 2020, and October 8, 2020.

Mr Mochrie asked for probation officers to prepare a pre-sentence report on him, saying that though he has previous convictions, Morgan only has convictions for dishonesty “here and there”.

“It is not his modus operandi to commit offences of dishonesty,” said the defence barrister.

The judge adjourned for the report to be prepared.

He added: “I cannot see it being anything other than an immediate prison sentence, notwithstanding what the report may throw up.”

He remanded Morgan in custody to prevent him turning up drunk again at court.