A fraudster has avoided jail after he conned a parrot expert out of £5,000.
Kevin Alexander advertised two hyacinth macaws he claimed to own on a website for £16,000.
The rare birds, which he never had, were seen by Calderdale parrot fanatic Jack Hutchinson who contacted Alexander, who was using the alias Peter Forbes, about buying them. He agreed to pay £5,000 deposit on the parrots, but became suspicious after transferring the cash to a bank account belonging to a Mr Tyreman.
Mr Hutchinson then contacted the police, who tracked Alexander down. Mr Tyreman was not prosecuted.
Alexander denied the charge until the day of trial, when he finally admitted the charge.
It’s the second time Alexander has been convicted of fraud, having admitted at Leeds Crown Court selling an imaginary Rolex watch for £1,176.40 in November last year.
Prosecutor Andrew Dunning said: “Mr Hutchinson is extremely upset by this. He has lost a great deal of faith in human nature and in his hobby. It has affected the way he views the world.”
Phil Axon, defending Alexander, said: “There is a degree of remorse and it’s time he put things into perspective. He tried to commit suicide last year and he wishes to address the issues in his life.” Chairman of the bench Sam Shibil told Alexander: “This court believes this case should have been sent to the crown court because of the seriousness of it.
“It seems to me you have not learned your lesson from last year.”
Alexander, of Seacroft, Leeds, was given 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. He will also be under supervision for 12 months and must pay £5 a week for the next two years in compensation.