A con artist preyed on single women convincing them to hand over thousands of pounds in a photo-booth scam.

Over £17,500 was swindled out of several women's purses by 44-year-old Khalid Mahmood, whom they met on a dating website.

The romance scammer used the same tactics to con the single women, convincing them to hand him thousands of pounds while they took a passport photo.

However when they closed the curtain and sat down, he made off with the cash.

The Argus: A custody photo of Khalid MahmoodA custody photo of Khalid Mahmood (Image: British Transport Police)

But his scamming spree was cut short after officers swooped in while he was getting off a flight from Pakistan at Gatwick Airport in April last year.

His case was heard at the Inner London Crown Court on Wednesday, September 20, where he pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation and three counts of theft.

The court heard how the first woman Mahmood conned agreed to meet him outside Kings Cross railway station in March 2020.

The Argus: King's Cross stationKing's Cross station (Image: James Manning / PA)

He offered her an "exclusive membership" to a gold trading club" if she handed over £6,000.

Once he had the cash, Mahmood told the woman she would need a passport photograph and guided her to a photo booth inside the station, while he offered to complete the online forms on her behalf on her mobile phone.

But instead of waiting, Mahmood disappeared with her cash and phone - which also contained her credit card. He used this card to withdraw a further £200.

The Argus: A photo machine A photo machine (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

In November 2020, Mahmood set up a meeting with his second victim - who he had first interacted with on the same dating website.

They agreed to meet at Manchester Piccadilly station where he offered her the same membership.

After coercing her into the deal, she agreed to the transaction and met her for a second time at London Euston station to hand over the cash.

However his plan was temporarily foiled when he could not find a photo booth - instead sending her into a shop to enquire while he made off with her £7,000 cash.

The Argus: The concourse at Manchester Piccadilly StationThe concourse at Manchester Piccadilly Station (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

On the third occasion, in July 2021, he travelled to Oxford to meet his victim who he met on the same website.

He attempted to convince the woman to take up his membership offer despite her telling Mahmood she was not interested and had no money.

He called her later that day to say he had already signed up on her behalf, and would pay half the membership fee leaving her to find the remaining £4,000.

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Having borrowed the cash from her mother she met Mahmood at London Victoria station who made her withdraw an additional £300.

He then told her he would complete the online form on her phone while she looked for a photo booth.

When she returned Mahmood had left the station with her phone and cash.

The Argus: Mahmood was arrested at Gatwick AirportMahmood was arrested at Gatwick Airport (Image: Newsquest)

Investigating officer DC Jennifer Brown said: "Mahmood snared the women, none of whom could afford to lose the cash he stole from them, by promising potential riches from his connections to the gold trading market.

"Once we had Mahmood in our sights it was only a matter of time before he was brought to justice.

"Criminality of any kind will not be tolerated and we continue to work to deter those who operate criminal enterprises using the rail network."