Crooked tanker boss who duped Budleigh Salterton customers must repay some of his ill gotten gains

PUBLISHED: 15:11 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:12 20 July 2018

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.

Archant

A drainage company boss who swindled customers out of £24,000 for work he never carried out has been ordered to repay some of his ill-gotten gains.

Graham Bell took payments and deposits from customers all over Devon – including Budleigh Salterton - who wanted new water tanks or pumps but he failed to turn up to do the jobs.

He fobbed them off with excuses and moved his business to different addresses in South Devon and North Wales.

Bell ripped off nine customers including clients in Kingsbridge, Budleigh Salterton and Teignmouth.

He received a suspended sentence last year and has now been ordered to repay £5,360 under the Proceeds of Crime Act by a judge at Exeter Crown Court.

Judge Timothy Rose set the amount by which Bell benefited was £24,000.20 but certified that his available assets are limited to £5,360.

He ordered him to repay the money within three months or go to jail for 13 weeks.

Mr Tom Bradnock, prosecuting, said an agreement had been reached with the defence on the figures.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Bell is currently unwell and unable to appear in court but has sent an e-mail confirming his consent to the order.

In March 2017, Bell, aged 67, of Llandysil Road, New Quay, Ceredigion, Wales, admitted nine counts of fraud and was jailed for 21 months, suspended for two years and curfewed for three months.

The frauds occurred in 2012 and 2013 when Bell was running a firm called Tanks and Pumps Direct from addresses in Torquay and Paignton.

He took money when there was no realistic prospect of him being able to obtain the equipment to carry it out.

Customers who tried to complain or get their money back were fobbed off and baffled by his use of different addresses and numbers.

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