Prison conman back behind bars

A CONMAN who masterminded a £300,000 fraud from a Suffolk prison ten years ago is back behind bars today after organising a £28,000 scam while serving a sentence at another of the county's jails.

Jane Hunt

A CONMAN who masterminded a £300,000 fraud from a Suffolk prison ten years ago is back behind bars today after organising a £28,000 scam while serving a sentence at another of the county's jails.

David Aves was being held at Hollesley Bay prison, near Woodbridge, when he saw an advertisement in Exchange and Mart which had been placed by a man looking for personalised number plates, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Aves, 49, who was allowed to leave the prison on day release to work at an Oxfam shop in Ipswich, responded to the ad and had subsequently duped Darren Thompson into parting with £28,000 for five number plates, only one of which had ever been registered with DVLA, said Andrew Shaw, prosecuting.

Aves, of Freewood Street, Bury St Edmunds, admitted five offences of deception dating back to 2005 and was jailed for two years.

Passing sentence, Judge Neil McKittrick said: “You were serving a term of imprisonment at the time of the offences and you were allowed out to work in Ipswich. It is plain that the idea and the substance of the deception occurred while you were a guest of Her Majesty.”

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He said the deceptions involved false claims by Aves about so-called “cherished” car numbers.

“You were responsible for a series of deceptions on Mr Thompson resulting in him parting with £28,000 of his money.”

Judge McKittrick said while Aves was an inmate at Hollesley Bay he had received documents from a third party relating to five numbers and had sold them on to Mr Thompson.

He said Aves claimed he had only received £10,750 from Mr Thompson and that the balance of the £28,000 had been received by the third party.

“The fact of the matter is that Mr Thompson was the gullible victim of a scam carefully worked out by you,” said the judge.

He said since the commission of the offences Aves had expressed willingness to repay Mr Thompson but two cheques he sent him had “bounced”.

He said of the £28,000 owed to Mr Thompson only £3,000 had so far been repaid.

During the hearing the court heard that in the last 30 years Aves had appeared before court on 26 occasions for 173 offences which mainly involved some form of dishonesty.

Denis Barry, for Aves, said his client only accepted obtaining £10,000 from Mr Thompson.

He said Aves was an only child and his mother was getting on in age. “He needs to grow up,” said Mr Barry.

Aves hit the headlines more than a decade ago when he escaped from Norwich prison after arranging for forged release papers to be faxed to him.

In 1998 he was jailed for four and a half years after he masterminded a £300,000 fraud while he was in Blundeston Prison in Suffolk.

On that occasion he had used the public telephone at the prison to set up deals buying and selling mainly agricultural machinery and equipment.

When Aves was banned from using the prison phone he had mobile phones smuggled in so he could carry on his business.

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