A conman who ran a rogue removals firm from Towcester has been warned he is facing jail after he admitted fleecing thousands of pounds from his victims.
Jeffrey Hayward, aged 35, claimed his removal firm was based in Towcester and that he had offices in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Oxford, Cambridge and London, but instead conned more than 20 people by taking their cash and then failing to turn up.
He gave excuses such as his vehicle had broken down and even claimed he had suffered a bereavement. Victims were often let down on the day of their move and no refunds were ever given.
He was charged with participating in a fraudulent business and conning customers out of £16,967.55. He pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court on Friday, June 22.
After the hearing former Banbury resident John Taylor told the Advertiser Hayward appeared to be genuine, and that he and his wife were sympathetic when Hayward phoned the day before their move to Scotland to say he had suffered a bereavement and could not carry out the packing and removal the Taylors had paid £1,900 for.
Mr Taylor said: “He was very apologetic and these things do happen, you can’t do much when someone tells you a family member has died.
“But then your thoughts turn to we’ve got a deadline and there is a chain of people relying on us.”
After the hearing it emerged Hayward had been caught conning customers before. In January 2010, the fraudster was convicted at Towcester Magistrates’ Court of fraudulently receiving £1,180.
Hayward was handed a conditional discharge for 24 months and ordered to pay £80 costs and refund the cash.
He was bailed at the end of Friday’s hearing but Judge Michael Fowler said: “You must understand the offence you have pleaded guilty to crosses the custody threshold.”
Sentencing was adjourned for reports.