Young fraudster is behind bars as ‘mean’ spree ends

JAILED Owen Fletcher
JAILED Owen Fletcher

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A SERIAL fraudster who concocted huge lies to deceive his victims in a wide array of cons has been jailed.

Owen Fletcher, 23, tricked an elderly woman into handing over £800 and used a false name to obtain expensive tools from companies in Portsmouth.

In total his deceptions came to around £11,000.

But Fletcher, of Tarrant Gardens, Bedhampton, is now beginning a three-year prison sentence.

At his sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court, prosecutor Anthony Bailey said Fletcher swindled almost £6,000 of tools from two tool hire companies in Portsmouth, claiming he worked for a construction company.

In January, he conned an 85-year-old Hayling woman out of £800, by claiming she needed urgent work done to her car.

It later transpired Fletcher had simply sprayed WD-40 on the engine and handed it back to the vulnerable lady.

He also posed as the son of the owner of Aqua Cars in a bid to get a lift from Northampton to Warren Park in Havant – failing to pay the £150 taxi fare.

Fletcher’s uninsured Ford Fiesta later crashed into a car in Hollybank Lane, Emsworth, while he chatted on a mobile phone.

After being arrested by police, he admitted to all the offences and asked for others to be considered.

Mr Bailey said: ‘He sold these tools he sought to pay debts. He sold them to travellers in Sussex.

‘He said he had gone to using a false name, Danny Mills, to obtains tools.

‘During the course of the interview, the defendant showed absolutely no remorse in respect of the offences he had committed. He said he wanted a quick interview as he wanted to get it all over and done with.’

Mr Bailey said at the end of the interview Fletcher had a grin on his face and said ‘well that’s a weight off my shoulders’.

The court heard Fletcher has 21 previous convictions for 47 offences, starting in 2005.

His offences include handling stolen goods, attempted burglary, battery and theft from a vehicle.

The crime spree resulted in eight weeks in a young offenders’ institution in 2010.

Last June he was given a suspended sentence for 22 months for fraud offences, but this has now been breached.

Roderick James, defending, said: ‘He’s got into a position where he’s become known as a thief.’

Judge Roger Hetherington gave Fletcher credit for pleading guilty to all charges.

But he said: ‘All these various people that you defrauded were taken in.

‘They would have been distressed by what happened.’

He said defrauding the elderly woman was a ‘particularly mean offence’ given her age and gullibility.

He said that only a ‘significant prison sentence’ would suffice.

CATALOGUE OF CRIMES RECORDED

· January 28, 2014 - defrauded Speedy Hire services in Southsea out of £2,900-worth of tools, claiming he worked for PNC Construction.

· February 4, 2014 – defrauded HSS Tool Tire in Portsmouth out of £3,042.

· February 2, 2014 – conned a Streetwise taxi driver into giving him lift from Northampton, failing to pay £150 fare.

· January 10, 2014 – conned an 85-year-old woman into handing over £800 for car repairs that were never carried out.

· January 19, 2014 – drove without due care and attention in Hollybank Lane, Emsworth.

· July, 2013 – conned a Leigh Park man out of £1,890 by obtaining card details after saying he had a large inheritance and needed a safe account.

· May, 2013 – offered to sell a boat and was given £200 cash.

· Stole a BMW car after promising the owner he would sell it after carrying out repairs.

· Claimed to work for Boarhunt Garage and had a Renault Clio crushed.