Pubgoers in the UK are being urged to help trace a man police have labelled a “love rat” who befriended a woman, then sold her car.

The woman, from Easington, County Durham, met the man calling himself Jamie Patterson, on a dating web site. But on the day he was due to move in with her and her teenage daughter, he sold her car and vanished.

Posters are now being placed in pubs in Newcastle, where Durham Police believe the man may live.

The incident happened in October, but so far police have been unable to trace the man, who is in his 40s and has a number of distinctive tattoos.

A Durham Police spokeswoman described him as a “love rat” and added: “This was a single woman in her 40s who was looking for friendship and took this man at face value. On 26 October, 2011 she contacted us to report her green Ford Fiesta stolen.

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“It later transpired she had been befriended by this man on a dating website, and within a few weeks their relationship had become serious enough for him to start leaving belongings at her house.

“Jamie said he would drop the woman at her place of work in Sunderland, following which he would go to his home address in Newcastle and pick up more of his things. However, he failed to pick her up and she could not get an answer from his mobile phone.

“She got a taxi home and, because her house keys and car keys were on the same key ring, she needed to smash a window to get into her own home. She found all of his clothes gone and documentation for the car which showed it had been sold for about £1,000.

“Luckily we managed to recover the vehicle, but so far we have not been able to trace the man.”

Police said the man is in his 40′s, of stocky build and bald. He also has some distinctive tattoos, including the names Melisa and Keighley on his arm.

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