Pair conned by man who feared family would be killed if he did not pay off drug debt

TWO people have had money stolen from them in a fraud operation aimed at getting together enough cash to repay a drugs debt.

Vincent Baxter took more than £1,000 from two strangers in a desperate attempt to gather funds, after he was told he and his family would be killed if the debt was not repaid, Boston Magistrates’ Court was told.

The bench heard that Baxter, of Peck Avenue, Boston, fleeced Peter Lunn on September 3, when he said he would sell him two high-specification televisions for £400 in cash. They arranged to meet at McDonald’s later in the day and Baxter took Mr Lunn to a house in Bartol Crescent, but after taking the money he left the property without giving any goods in return, Jim Clare, prosecuting, told the court.

Later the same day, he tried a similar tactic on Fagner Perazzo, taking him to the same house where he took £350 and ran off in full view of his victim and a friend, Mr Clare said.

The deception came shortly after Baxter tried a similar trick on friend Paul Hewson, saying he would sell him an amount of cigarettes in exchange for £300 in cash. He took the cash but did not turn up to hand over the fags at the arranged time, magistrates heard.

“He chanced his luck. He’s obviously a very convincing conman,” Mr Clare said.

When arrested he told police Mr Hewson had stolen fishing equipment from him and he wanted to claim money back to repay the debt, Mark Hudson said in defence.

But Mr Hudson added the two occasions had to be viewed seperately, as the motivation behind the two incidents was different. On September 3 he was in desperate need of cash to repay a serious debt.

He said: “He owed a drug debt and it caught up with him. He was taken off the street and told in very simple terms that ‘if you don’t pay this debt we will kill you and kill your parents’. He said they would do it – it was not a threat. He needed the money as quickly as possible, so he came up with this idea to raise cash as quickly as possible.

“It’s not particularly sophisticated. It smacks of desperation.”

Baxter, 48, admitted three counts of fraud by false representation on June 29 and September 3 when he appeared in court on Wednesday.

Magistrates requested a probation report before sentencing, which will take place today (Wednesday).