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Yarmouth conman tricked people out of £27,000 in fake horsebox scam

PUBLISHED: 08:31 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:13 07 November 2017

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A “thoroughly dishonest” Norfolk conman tricked six horseowners he met on Facebook out of £27,000, a court heard.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Paul Lawrence, 38, tricked one woman to part with more than £10,000 with the promise that he could make her cash by buying and selling horses from Ireland and also duped other horse owners into buying horseboxes, which never materialised.

The court heard one victim, who has cerebral palsy, had her “dream shattered” when she was cheated out of cash for a horsebox and land which Lawrence had promised her. Another victim is now on medication and has been left in debt because of Lawrence’s scam.

Lawrence,of Sturdee Road, Great Yarmouth, admitted six counts of fraud and was jailed for 42 months.

Charles Kellett, prosecuting, said Lawrence, who uses a number of aliases including the name Savage, conned victims from Norfolk and Berkshire.

He said after getting them to hand over deposits he then made up a number of excuses as to why the horsebox was not delivered.

In one case, he told the victim that he could not deliver the horsebox as his wife had just had a miscarriage and Lawrence pretended to another victim that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and had a year to live.

In the end, he said the victims realised they had been conned and went to police.

Jailing him, Judge Stephen Holt said Lawrence was a “thoroughly dishonest man” and had managed to obtain more than £27,000 with his scam.

He said his con followed a similar pattern of “lies and excuses”. He told him: “You were the leading role in a series of frauds.”

Shiva Misra, for Lawrence, said he had refunded some cash to customers and had used £4,000 buying items to build the horseboxes. He said Lawrence claimed he had not had much of the cash obtained himself but just £1,000 for day-to-day living expenses.

A confiscation hearing will be held at a later date to try to claw back some of the stolen cash.

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