A WIGAN con artist sold his car on eBay then immediately had it stolen back again, a court heard.
Kenneth Mitchinson said he panicked after hitting money problems, so he “ringed” his £5,500 Vauxhall Astra with the identity of a scrapped, but similar model, before selling it on the internet.
The hearing was told that he staked out his victim’s wife, then followed her to the Trafford Centre, then took the vehicle using a spare set of keys while she was shopping.
When suspicious police called at his home in Tipping Street, Poolstock, they found the car parked on the drive, but now wearing its genuine plates, chasis and VIN numbers.
But Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court was told the fraud was discovered when his victim Richard Davies – who had spent “all his savings” on the car – was able to positively identify Mitchinson’s Astra as the one he bought, because of a faulty wing mirror.
The 53-year-old, who served a three-year prison sentence in the 1990s for conspiring to steal vehicles, was given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He must also undertake 150 hours’ unpaid community service.
Judge Jonathan Geake told Mitchinson he had committed a “very mean and unpleasant” act against young butcher Mr Davies and his family.
But said he was giving him full credit in sentencing for pleading guilty to theft and fraud at the first opportunity, and having co-operated with police throughout.
FULL STORY IN THE WIGAN EVENING POST (MONDAY) ...