Coldplay fraudster avoids jail

FRAUDSTER: James Shevlin
FRAUDSTER: James Shevlin
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A conman has been spared jail after scamming music fans for tickets that never existed.

James Shevlin, 51, has a “disgusting” record for fraud, dating back to the 1970s and has served a prison sentence after cheating a pub landlord out of his identity and livelihood.

But a judge at Preston Crown Court today ruled the public would be best served by handing Shevlin a suspended sentence to allow him to rebuild his life after falling into financial difficulties and .

In his latest scam Shevlin advertised tickets for Coldplay’s concert on June 2 at the Emirates Stadium London, on the online selling site Gumtree.

Using the sites messaging facility, he gave his mobile phone number and an email showing ticket receipts to Shelley Riley, who was buying the tickets for a friend’s 40th birthday.

She transferred £240 to Shevlin who sent her an email receipt but as the date of the concert drew near and with no sign of the tickets, Mrs Riley tried to contact Shevlin, who did not answer her calls.

Shevlin, of Tag Lane, Ingol, was arrested and told police he had used the money to fund his day-to-day living travelling to Wales to visit his son.

He admitted obtaining £1,541 by deception, asking the court to take seven other offences relating to the same concert into consideration.

James Hawkes, defending, said Shevlin’s crime was “unsophisticated”.

He said: “This was a man conducting these transactions in his own name, using his own bank account, ensuring that once a complaint was made detection was inevitable.”

In 2007 Shevlin was locked up for three years after stealing the identity of pub landlord Peter Hough.

The conman went on a £21,000 spending spree in Mr Hough’s name, treating himself to a Mercedes and running up credit after befriending the landlord when he ran the Smiths Arms pub in Lea Town.

Mr Hough was forced to give up the pub after being refused credit and was left on the brink of financial ruin as a result of Shevlin’s unscrupulous crime.

But Mr Hawkes said since Shevlin was released from prison in May 2009 he had not committed any offences of dishonesty for three years “which by his previous standard is not insignificant.”

Recorder Christopher Alldis, sentencing, said: “You are a heavily convicted fraudster with a disgusting record. The offences for which I have to deal with are to do with offering ticket - tickets which you never possessed and never would possess.”

He noted a pre-sentence report which said neither custodial or non custodial sentences had the effect of stopping his offending, but said: “It seems to me that the better option for both the public point of view and your point of view is for me to suspend that sentence.

“If that type of sentence enables you to get your life back on track then the public has been well served.”

Shevlin must undergo 12 months supervision and was warned he would go straight to jail if he commits any further offences.