6 October 1995

Jailed fraudster in tractor sale con allegations

By Shelley Wright

A PRISONER serving an eight-year sentence for deception is allegedly conning machinery firms from his prison cell.

A Northern tractor dealer, who asked not to be named, said he almost fell foul of the scam last month and wants to alert others.

The dealer advertised a range of second-hand tractors in farmers weekly last month. He was contacted by a man called David Aves, who said he wanted to buy one of the tractors. They agreed a price of £11,000 on condition it was delivered to Suffolk the next weekend. Mr Aves said he would pay the transport costs of £250, in cash, directly to the driver when the tractor arrived.

Pay before delivery

The dealer agreed but told Mr Aves that because his company, Stowe Tractors, did not have an account with the firm, the money would have to be paid before the tractor could be delivered.

"He assured me that the money would be transferred to my bank the next day and he gave me his account number and building society details. I then arranged for a haulier to collect the tractor and take it to Suffolk," said the dealer.

But the following morning, when the tractor was due to be delivered, the money had still not been transferred. "I rang the driver and told him not to part with the tractor until the money was safely in my bank. I then rang Mr Aves building society."

He was told the account had been closed. "The woman I spoke at the Building Society advised me not to have anything to do with Mr Aves – and that is when I started to worry."

The dealer then rang a number Mr Aves had given him but it was an answering machine instructing callers to try a mobile number. When he rang that number it was answered by someone else who said he would get Mr Aves to ring back.

More concerned than ever, the dealer arranged for the driver to deliver the tractor to a local machinery firm in Suffolk for safe keeping. He then rang the police.

"They told me that Mr Aves was in prison, which was bad enough. But I was even more astonished when they said that five police forces around the country were investigating Mr Aves dealings," he said.

Cumbria police confirmed they were investigating a charge of deception and that a man, currently serving a prison sentence for deception, was due to be interviewed. A spokesman said he believed other forces were also investigating similar offences.

The dealer thinks that while Mr Aves conducted his business by phone from prison, another person would take delivery of the machinery and immediately export it. &#42