Hessett fraudster is jailed for campervan repair con at Wattisfield workshop
A business owner who defrauded customers of thousands of pounds by charging for repairs to vehicles he never carried out has been jailed.
Adrian Wells, 52, took payments totalling more than £30,000 at his workshop in Wattisfield.
Ipswich Crown Court heard on Friday that Wells, of Beyton Road, Hessett, had purchased the business Make My Bay for £1 after the previous owner had run into financial problems.
When customers who had for months been fobbed off with excuses and assurances that work on their VW camper vans was going well turned up at the workshop they discovered they had been lied to.
Prosecutor Matthew Sorel-Cameron said some vehicles were found to be in a worse condition than when they were delivered to Wells while little work had been done to others.
Some customers, who had tried without success to contact Wells, arrived to find the workshop in Wattisfield had closed down.
Mr Sorel-Cameron said one couple who had handed over £12,000 to Wells to have their VW camper van restored discovered that nothing had been done to it for around 18 months.
Another customer found that her vehicle was in such a poor condition that it had lost half it’s value and, after paying out £4,500 to Wells, had been left with no savings and having to rely on buses for transport.
Wells pleaded guilty to nine offences of fraud by false representation and was jailed for a total of 15 months by Judge Martyn Levett.
Judge Levett said that while Wells, who was also disqualified from running a company for seven years, was good at dealing with mechanical issues he was not good at financial matters.
Appearing for Wells, Laura Kenyon said her client accepted that he was not well equipped to run the business which at the outset he had believed he could succeed at, leaving him panicking when the financial situation deteriorated.