A conman nicknamed Champagne Charlie has been jailed for five years for a sting which he carried out across London.
John Clugston, 65, who has longstanding links to Brighton and Southwick, defrauded dozens of companies in the capital.
He posed as a businessman as he visited offices pretending that he had bottles of Bollinger champagne left over from a work function.
He convinced his victims that they would be getting a bargain and persuaded them to hand over money – typically £1,000 to £1,500.
But when he left to fetch the leftover champagne, he never came back.
After netting more than £19,000, yesterday (Wednesday 24 August) he was sent down at Southwark Crown Court.
The fraudster, who has no fixed address, was caught last month by a detective from the Metropolitan Police.
He conned people out of cash over several months in the City of London and the boroughs of Camden, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kingston, Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster.
Detective Constable Anna Petherbridge, the arresting officer, said yesterday: “I am really pleased with today’s verdict.
“Clugston was a conman who defrauded his victims out of thousands of pounds right across London and the sentence reflects this.
“I am sure all of the victims who were conned out of money will be delighted with the result.”
Clugston admitted six counts of fraud by false representation. A further 25 offences were taken into consideration.