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7 January 2011, 15:13 | Updated: 7 January 2011, 15:33
Simon Kopp befriended an elderly pensioner and then tried to get him to change his will and leave him his £450,000 house.
When the 87 year old man refused Kopp called a firm of solicitors and asked them to transfer the house into his name.
St Albans crown court heard on Thursday the plan was doomed to fail and resulted in him being charged with fraud.
Kopp, of Long Johns, Hemel Hempstead pleaded guilty to an offence of fraud.
He also admitted attempted theft, going equipt, and being found in enclosed premises when he was caught in a compound in Watling Street, Flamstead on December 4.
The court heard he had been trying to steal catalytic coverters from parked lorries.
Judge Martin Griffith heard how on March 15 2010 he had contacted a solicitor in an attempt to take possession of the elderly man's home Antoine Gate, St Albans.
The court heard that he got to know Mr Howkins in August 2009 when Kopp had been employed by travellers to carry out work in the front garden at the elderly man's home.
In January 2010 Kopp made contact once more with the pensioner and formed a close friendship with him.
It was then that he trierd to persuade the man to leave him his home and when that failed he contacted a solicitor.
Daniel Higgins defending said "This fraud was never going to be successful."
The barrister said Kopp had provided his details to the solicitor meaning he was always going to be caught.
Judge Griffith jailed Kopp for a total of three years.
He described Kopp's victim as "vulnerable".