‘Christ­mas had come early’ for con friends

Cynon Valley - - NEWS - LIZ DAY

THREE friends who conned Tesco out of nearly £50,000 of items in­clud­ing iPads and PlayS­ta­tions told po­lice: “It was like Christ­mas come early.”

Arek Pi­etrzak, An­dre Far­inha and Chloe Wil­son were jailed at Cardiff Crown Court af­ter they pleaded guilty to con­spir­ing to com­mit fraud.

Judge Jeremy Jenk­ins de­scribed the of­fend­ing as “se­ri­ous”.

The court heard the fraud oc­curred be­tween Oc­to­ber 2015 and Jan­uary 2016, when the de­fen­dants were liv­ing to­gether at Com­mer­cial Street in New­port.

Nuhu Go­bir, prose­cut­ing, said Pi­etrzak, 24, from Cy­press Street, Pon­typridd, opened a TSB cur­rent ac­count in a false name.

He told the court 73 or­ders worth more than £80,000 were placed with Tesco Di­rect dur­ing the three-month pe­riod.

Prose­cu­tors said the de­fen­dants or­dered “high end” elec­tri­cal items, in­clud­ing lap­tops, mo­bile phones, iPads, PlayS­ta­tions and Xboxes. They also or­dered a gam­ing chair, wash­ing ma­chine and moun­tain bike.

Mr Go­bir said some of the or­ders were not dis­patched, but the de­fen­dants re­ceived goods worth £48,637.53 Tesco Di­rect.

The court heard the bank ac­count was £3,000 over­drawn by mid-De­cem­ber 2015, but the or­ders were dis­patched any­way and Tesco lost the money.

Mr Go­bir added: “The or­ders were dis­patched with­out the cus­tomer hav­ing the fi­nan­cial means to pay for them.”

The bank later re­viewed the trans­ac­tions and po­lice vis­ited the prop­erty on Com­mer­cial Street.

In her po­lice in­ter­view, Wil­son ac­cepted sign­ing for some de­liv­er­ies, but de­nied any of­fend­ing.

She told of­fi­cers Pi­etrzak and Far­inha would some­times stay up all night or­der­ing goods on­line, adding: “It was like Christ­mas come early for them.”

Wil­son stated Pi­etrzak ei­ther sold the items on or gave them away as gifts. She claimed she felt like she was in trou­ble for some­thing she had not done.

In his in­ter­view, Far­inha blamed Tesco for their terms and con­di­tions, and sug­gested they could have can­celled the or­ders.

Pi­etrzak an­swered the ques­tions “no com­ment”, from but gave a pre­pared state­ment say­ing he had no in­ten­tion of de­fraud­ing Tesco or the bank.

Eu­gene Egan, de­fend­ing, said Pi­etrzak was “at a low ebb” at the time, hav­ing just bro­ken up with a girl­friend.

He told the court: “He has made an ef­fort to bet­ter his po­si­tion.”

The de­fence bar­ris­ter said his client now has a job and is in a steady re­la­tion­ship, with his girl­friend due to give birth to their first child next week.

Mr Egan asked for any prison sen­tence to be sus­pended, but Pi­etrzak was jailed for 25 months.

The court heard a re­la­tion­ship be­tween Far­inha, 28, and Wil­son, 23, both from Com­mer­cial Street, ended last year.

Matthew Cobbe, de­fend­ing Far­inha said: “He has turned his life around.” Far­inha was also jailed for 25 months.

Nigel Fryer, de­fend­ing Wil­son, said his client suf­fered from anx­i­ety, but wanted to re­turn to a ca­reer in hair­dress­ing. She was jailed for 22 months.

Judge Jenk­ins said: “In my judge­ment, only an im­me­di­ate cus­to­dial sen­tence is jus­ti­fied for this of­fend­ing.”

A hear­ing will be held un­der the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act on De­cem­ber 8.

Arek Pi­etrzak, An­dre Far­inha and Chloe Wil­son conned Tesco out of nearly £50,000 of goods

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