Victim of iPhone scam helped to catch Halifax conman

News from the courts.
News from the courts.

A “sleight of hand” conman who tricked his victim into handing over cash for a fake iPhone has been jailed for a total of eight months.

Ashley Fleming, 27, who had already avoided an immediate prison sentence for an identical scam in Lancashire, used a “dummy” iPhone bought off the internet to trick Kasim Khan into parting with £130.

Prosecutor Nigel Jamieson told Bradford Crown Court today (Wednesday) how Mr Khan had been in the Forster Square retail park in Bradford with a friend a year ago when Fleming offered to sell him his real iPhone.

Fleming, of Keighley Road, Halifax, claimed that he needed cash after losing money at the bookmakers and after Mr Khan was allowed to examine the real phone a figure of £130 was agreed.

While Mr Khan and his friend sorted out the money the phone was given back to Fleming who then used some sleight of hand to swap it for the fake phone he had in his possession.

After Fleming left the scene his victim to realised the phone he had been given was worthless.

A week after the offence Mr Khan spotted Fleming in the retail park talking to security guard about an iPhone and he chased the defendant into one of the shops where he was detained with the help of another security officer.

Mr Jamieson said at the time Fleming had another “dummy” phone on him.

The court heard that in August 2013 Fleming was given a suspended 10-month prison sentence by a judge at Burnley Crown Court for an identical iPhone scam.

Fleming denied the offence of fraud in relation to Mr Khan, but he was found guilty by magistrates in Bradford and his case was transferred to the crown court for sentence.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing a small amount of cannabis.

Barrister Peter Hampton, for Fleming, highlighted the fact that the latest fraud had been committed 12 months ago and his client had stayed out of trouble since then.

Mr Hampton conceded that Fleming had committed serious offences in the past following a head injury he suffered in a road accident in 2006, but he now had a settled partner and accommodation and was looking for honest work.

But Judge Colin Burn said Fleming had failed to take the opportunity given to him by the judge in Burnley and he had to activate the suspended sentence as well as impose a further prison term for the latest fraud.

Fleming was jailed for four months for the fraud on Mr Khan with a further four months activated in respect of the suspended sentence.