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'Movie set' man spared jail after rental fraud
A MAN has been sentenced after claiming he was making a film at home and defrauding furniture companies out of money.
Martin Blake, aged 49, of Sedgewick Court, Warrington, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 20 months at Bolton Crown Court today, He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work.
Between October 2011 and May 2012, Blake rented a house on Ringley Road, Whitefield.
During his stay there, he contacted a number of companies, stating that he wanted to buy or rent various items of furniture as he was taking part in a filming project that would take two years to complete.
He set up trade accounts and bought a barstool, shelf buffet and open shelf unit costing over £600.
He then rented a pool table, two games machines and a grandfather clock costing over £2,000.
Blake then 'paid' for the items using cheques linked to a bank account that had no funds in it before having a 'house sale' where he sold the pool table and grandfather clock.
The police were called and Blake was arrested on suspicion of fraud before being charged.
Detective Constable Neil Tate, of the Volume Fraud Team, said: "Blake rented out a four bedroom house worth in the region of £800,000 in an affluent area of Whitefield and tried to play on the premise that he was taking part in filming.
"These companies sold and rented the items to Blake, believing they would be paid and when they tried to cash in the cheques, they bounced leaving them out of pocket.
"He then sold the items to line his own pocket but thankfully he was caught before he could defraud anyone else.
"However the pool table has never been recovered and the company who rented it to him in good faith have paid the price for his crimes."