A HALESOWEN man who conned communication companies into sending him batches of mobile phones so he could sell them on for a profit has avoided jail.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how Allan Reading pretended to be a director of existing legitimate firms to order the mobile telephones.

Howard Searle prosecuting said the scam ran from March 3 to April 8 last year when police, after receiving a tip-off, swooped on Reading's home in Long Lane where they found fake driving licences, bank statements and company accounts.

There were two other people involved in the fraud who met 23-year-old Reading at a Dudley casino, said Mr Searle and he thought at first it was a legitimate business venture.

But Mr Searle added: "When they asked to use a room in his house as office space he knew it was illegal.

“This was characterised by a degree of planning and multiple transactions and the possession of articles for use in fraud."

Reading admitted fraud and he was given a ten month jail term suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community.

The court was told the two other men allegedly involved in the scam were set to be dealt with at a future date.

Mr Simon Williams defending said Reading had paid a heavy price for his criminality because he had been threatened, his relationship had broken down and he had ultimately lost his employment.

The actual loss to the three firms who were ripped off by Reading was £2,870 but he only pocketed £160, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.