Five behind land fraud sent down for total of 29 years

Jailed fraudster Alfred Thomas Arthur from Leigh
Jailed fraudster Alfred Thomas Arthur from Leigh

A Leigh man has been jailed for four years after his role in a sophisticated land banking fraud was uncovered.

Alfred Arthur, 57, of Deepdale, Leigh, was in the dock with four other people involved in the plot.

“Everyone involved was driven by greed and the potential for huge financial gain.”

Judge Andrew Menary, QC

In total they received 29 years prison.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said: “Everyone involved was driven by greed and the potential for huge financial gain.”

Liverpool Crown Court heard the seven-year fraud involved an elaborate scheme to dishonestly mis-sell portions of green belt land on a site in Redditch, Worcestershire, using misleading information.

The gang used a variety of companies to acquire the 38-acre site for the cheap price of £250,000 as it had no development potential.

They then arranged for architects to draw a site plan for more than 400 plots, many described as for three or four-bedroomed houses, and infrastructure including roads and recreational spaces. The plots, that had cost £500 to buy were sold for more than £15,000 frequently as a result of targeted phone calls by a sales team to people who had shown some interest in land investments.

Land Banking (UK) also purchased four other plots of land in Kirkby, Merseyside; Nantwich and Chesterfield which netted a further £3.5m for the fraudsters. But the defendants, who were convicted after a lengthy trial, only faced a conspiracy to defraud involving the Redditch land.

Crooked Parbold businessman Timothy Wren, 40, was in the dock along with four others along with Kevin Hilton, 42, of Oak Drive, Burscough, who was only involved for two and a half years, was jailed for six years. Also jailed was John Chandler, 61, of Clock Face Road, St Helens, who was head of sales and marketing, received seven years and his wife, Jeanette, 61, of the same address, was put behind bars for four years.

Wren, of, Parbold, was jailed for eight years.