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Norfolk conman jailed for three years

PUBLISHED: 14:59 24 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:08 07 July 2010

A convicted Norfolk man has been jailed for three years after he pretended to be a super-rich Jersey resident to trick banks and businesses into giving him money.

A convicted Norfolk man has been jailed for three years after he pretended to be a super-rich Jersey resident to trick banks and businesses into giving him money.

Paul Self, 52, who owned expensive cars and a luxury boat, claimed he was a resident with more than £250,000 in the bank after he dreamed up a scheme to create a floating hotel on the Channel Island.

But Self, originally from Booton, was arrested by the island's police, and it emerged that he had a criminal record, having twice being convicted in crown courts in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Self was convicted last month of five counts of forgery and one of obtaining money by false pretences.

In court on Friday, he was also disqualified from driving for two years after pleading guilty to drink-driving in May 2008, and he will not be allowed to act as a company director for the next seven years.

In addition to the jail sentence, the court ordered Self to pay up to £30,000 towards prosecution costs for his trial last year.

Jersey's Royal Court was told that Self had planned to develop La Folie pub, on the island's harbour, and to build a hotel cruise ship to entertain islanders. But, when Jersey Harbours pulled the plug on the floating hotel project, Self continued to con bank workers into giving his company, Octa Group, money for the plans.

He claimed falsely that he had more than £270,000 in a BNP Paribas account and created a fake letter from the bank to obtain an overdraft from Royal Bank of Scotland International for his harbour plan.

Self forged his ex-business partner's signature on cheques, as well as forging invoices and another former partner's name to try to obtain a loan from Lombard Finance.

Crown advocate David Cadin said there was little in the way of mitigation for Self. “The forgeries were premeditated, involved some work and were part of a scheme of dishonesty,” he said.

Self's lawyer, Olaf Blakeley, insisted there were mitigating factors, arguing that Self was affected by the harbour's decision on his floating hotel idea.

“All these offences occurred after Jersey Harbours pulled the plug,” he said. “This was his chance to be successful, to earn a living. The offences were just stupid mistakes, premeditated but stupid. He accepts he has done wrong, but he is a kind and considerate man who goes to enormous lengths to help people.”

t Self received a nine-month suspended prison sentence at Norwich Crown Court in 2002 for attempting to pervert the course of justice. And, in 1997 at Ipswich Crown Court, Self was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence and disqualified as a company director for five years for 10 charges relating to a theft involving a boat, furnishing false information and making forging equipment.

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