Bury St Edmunds/Braintree: Dodgy dealer caught after trying to sell off-duty police officer broken TV in a supermarket car park

One of the cracked TVs Paul Clayton Maughan was trying to sell

One of the cracked TVs Paul Clayton Maughan was trying to sell - Credit: Archant

A dodgy dealer selling broken televisions from the back of a van was caught after trying to get an off-duty police officer to buy one, a court heard.

Following an investigation by Suffolk Trading Standards officers Paul Clayton Maughan was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, by Ipswich Crown Court. It was his second similar offence in three years.

Maughan called over to Pc Bob Bunton in the car park of Asda in Bury St Edmunds on April 6 last year in a bid to sell him a 32-inch flatscreen TV, the court heard.

It was one of five that Maughan, of Keeble Way, Braintree, had in his white transit van.

In 2011 Ipswich magistrates gave the 35-year-old a one-year community order after he admitted five charges relating to selling unsafe TVs or ones missing components in Sainsbury’s car park in Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, and Lidl in London Road, Ipswich.

At Maughan’s latest sentencing, Recorder Christopher Makey said: “The real difficulty is that people who are short of money perhaps see an opportunity of buying a TV, buying something from somebody like you, that doesn’t work. They have no recourse, they are out of pocket and that can let to a great deal of hardship.”

Maughan was caught after Pc Bunton made a note of the van’s registration number and phoned his colleagues. An officer stopped Maughan’s van around midday on April 6 and found televisions inside.

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Maughan claimed he had bought them untested for £200 from his cousin who got them from an electronics company.

All five televisions found were bubble wrapped and broken. Some had cracked screens and others had bits missing.

Prosecutor Alison Lambert said there were also bubble wrapped small blocks with them giving the impression of being remote controls.

Maughan pleaded guilty previously to two counts of possession of an article for use in fraud.

He also admitted being in breach of a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, which he was given in January 2012 for theft of diesel in Braintree.

Lynne Shirley, representing, Maughan, told the court he was trying to turn his life around.

Miss Shirley said: “He was going through a divorce, got in with the wrong crowd and has now seen the error of his ways.”

In addition to his new suspended sentence Maughan was given a supervision requirement for 12 months and ordered to do 120 hours’ unpaid work. He must also pay £80 to the victims’ fund and complete a thinking skills programme.