Kenilworth fraudster dodges jail

The scales of justice
The scales of justice

A convicted Kenilworth fraudster returned to his old ways by conning two shopkeepers out of money within months of having been given a suspended prison sentence for similar offences.

But Martin Orridge, 54, of Ilam Park, escaped having the suspended sentence activated because of the time it took for the case to get to Warwick Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud, committed while serving the suspended sentence, and breaching a separate community order.

He was given a new 12-month community order, with a rehabilitation activity for 20 days, and was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work, fined £150 and ordered to pay £550 costs and £130 compensation.

Although Orridge only committed minor offences, he was in court because of similar offences committed in December 2014.

He approached small businesses claiming he was selling advertising space in voucher booklets, receiving just over £2,000 for adverts in the booklet, which never appeared.

Other offences during that time included obtaining £3,409 from a printing firm by deception and £396 worth of fuel from service stations.

But despite being subject to the suspended sentence, in May he approached the owner of Warwick Lighting in Smith Street, Warwick, claiming he worked for Vouchers For You.

He offered advertising space in a voucher booklet, for which the owner paid him £90 in cash.

Two months later Orridge targeted the Encore Clothing shop, also in Smith Street, again offering fake advertising space for £90.

The owner declined, but when he returned in August, spinning the tale that an advertiser had pulled out and offering the space for just £30, she gave him the money.

Two weeks later he went back to the shop with a story that he had run out of petrol, asking to borrow £10 and promising to repay her the next day.

He never returned and the voucher booklet was never produced, said prosecutor Jane Sarginson.

Delroy Henry, defending, asked for Orridge to be given one more chance, but Recorder Burrows said: “This is not a man who has learnt his lesson.

“On their own the offences would not warrant a custodial sentence, but the most serious aspect is that they were committed in breach of a suspended sentence for similar offences of fraud.

“These offences, however, are now a year old. But for that, I would have activated the suspended sentence.”