Conman jailed for £20,000 swindle

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A FYLDE conman who swindled more than £20,000 from unsuspecting business partners has been jailed.

Andrew Clough convinced his victims to take out expensive leases on Mercedes cars for his chauffeur company.

He also pretended to be interested in buying a property in order to con money for legal fees from the woman selling the house.

Bolton Crown Court was told Clough, 25, of St Annes Road, St Annes, had a gambling addiction.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud.

Sentencing him to 16 months in prison, Judge William Morris said: “All of these transactions were fraudulent enterprises, deliberately talking people out of money.

“You have an addiction to gambling, but that does not excuse what you did.

“There were too many victims and they were seriously affected by what you did.”

Clough rented office space above a shop in Bradshawgate and in February 2009, approached the business owner with a proposition.

He told James Morris he was due to buy a cut-price house and had a buyer lined up to make a healthy profit.

Mr Morris gave him £2,000 towards the deal and Clough then approached him with another opportunity.

He told Mr Morris he had a new chauffeur business and took him to a Mercedes dealership, persuading him to lease a car, promising him a share of the profits.

Clough later gave Mr Morris two cheques for £600 and £700 which bounced, the court heard. He was left £13,846 out of pocket.

In March 2009, Clough duped Andrew Wakefield with the same con. He also told Mr Wakefield he was a property developer and persuaded him to give him £2,500 to buy a house in Bolton.

Mr Wakefield ended up losing £5,900.

His final victim, Christine Pratt, was looking to sell her house for £75,000.

Clough told her he wanted to buy her home, but could not get the deposit together.

Mrs Pratt refused to loan him the money for the deposit but later gave him £900 to cover legal fees.

He never bought her house.