Conman jailed for fines delay

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A rogue trader has been jailed after failing to pay back almost £4,000 which he fraudulently obtained from an elderly couple and an elderly man.

Matthew Baness, of Brickly Road, Luton, was sentenced to 16 months in jail, deferred for six months, when he appeared at Luton Crown Court on March 30.

The sentence was deferred as His Honour Judge Richard Foster gave Baness an opportunity to show that he was a changed man.

The judge heard from his counsel that he was keen to repay the money.

However, Baness failed to do so and when he appeared before the same court recently he was jailed for 12 months.

The initial fraud and contravention of trading laws dated back to August 2012 when Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards team received a complaint from the couple after Baness visited their Dunstable home and agreed to block pave their drive for £2,200.

He then returned to the property a few days later and asked for £1,000 in cash to buy building materials.

However, once the couple handed over the cash Baness stopped taking their phone calls and disappeared.

Trading Standards carried out a detailed investigation, but just as it was nearing completion, Baness went abroad.

On his return to England he was arrested by police who were investigating further offences, including a £3,000 fraud against an elderly gentleman in Bedfordshire.

Baness was brought to justice following a joint case by the council and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Councillor Tony Brown, Deputy Executive Member for Community Services, said: “Hopefully this will serve as a warning to others who may be tempted to carry out fraud in Central Bedfordshire that you will eventually brought to justice and have to face up to the consequences.

“The biggest disappointment from this case is that the people who Baness defrauded have not received their money back.

“He had ample opportunity to reimburse them and indicated that he was keen to do so, but having failed he now faces time behind bars.”