AN aspiring young doctor has been jailed after becoming a "money mule" and helping to launder thousands of pounds stolen from an elderly flood victim.

It was in October, 2016, that two persuasive fraudsters - never traced - duped the unsuspecting woman from Kendal, Cumbria, out of £64,500 after calling her land line.

They tricked her into thinking her bank account was compromised, and persuaded her to transfer cash - including £30,000 insurance money she received after her home was deluged during Storm Desmond the previous year - into temporary dummy accounts she was told were safe.

However, Carlisle Crown Court heard the money was instead fraudulently filtered down into the accounts of so-called "money mules" who benefited financially.

Almost £10,000 of the victim's cash was moved swiftly and directly into the bank account of medical student Bilal Mohammed Afzal, of Junction Road, Bolton, now aged 21.

After that money was quickly moved down the criminal chain and into the account of 28-year-old Open University student Mohammed Ismael Khan, £6,500 was converted into euros at a foreign exchange desk in a Rochdale ASDA.

Two days later, around £5,000 was transferred into the student bank account of budding London actor Nikhil Yauvan Reedye, now aged 20.

This was also converted into euros, a process which killed the money trail "stone dead".

Only around £20,000 of the victim's money was recovered and returned to her. And, speaking of having lost her savings and children's legacy, she stated: "I found that the trauma of this scam has left me feeling anxious, lacking in confidence and feeling very ashamed of my gullibility."

Prosecutor Sarah Griffin told the court: "The Crown submit each defendant played a significant role in this offending."

Afzal admitted two counts of transferring criminal property, and was jailed for 10 months.

His barrister, Ashraf Khan, told how the fourth year university medicine student was "traumatised" to learn of the victim impact. "He found it very difficult to cope with the knowledge he was a very important part of a fraud which had a significant impact on someone very elderly and very vulnerable," said Mr Khan.

"He took part in something he didn't really appreciate was serious."

Afzal hadn't yet told university staff of his criminal conduct. "He has, potentially, lost the opportunity to qualify as a doctor," said Mr Khan of offending "which will have a significant impact on his future".

"For all of this he is extremely responsible and extremely sorry." Of Afzal's family, Mr Khan added: "They are horrified with what he has done. To say they are disappointed is an understatement.

"He simply wants to deal with the consequences of what he has done and move on with the rest of his life."

Mohammed Khan, of Trippear Way, Heywood, Rochdale, admitted two converting criminal property offences, and was jailed for 16 months.

Reedye, of Kennedy Close, Mitcham, Merton, was convicted of converting criminal property after a trial, and jailed for a year.

"You all had significant roles where offending was part of group activity," Judge James Adkin said. "The reality is without people like you three, fraudsters would struggle. This type of fraud is epidemic."