'Prolific and professional conman' Wayne Hardy committed to launching Chesterfield bar

Wayne Hardy when he was jailed in 2015. Picture by Andrew Price.
Wayne Hardy when he was jailed in 2015. Picture by Andrew Price.

A 'prolific and professional conman' who has again been convicted of fraud insists he remains committed to opening a new bar in Chesterfield.

Wayne Hardy - who was handed a suspended prison sentence by magistrates today - told the Derbyshire Times he was a 'changed man' and is looking forward to launching Bar 413 on Sheffield Road next month.

The 37-year-old, of Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud which he committed in 2016.

Mike Treharne, prosecuting, told Chesterfield magistrates' court how a woman bought a mobile phone from Hardy online for £325 - but she never received the device.

Mr Treharne said the woman was left 'severely impacted' after falling victim to his crime.

He added: "She experienced a huge amount of concern and anxiety about what happened - and the fact someone could do this.

"He's a prolific and professional conman."

Hardy committed the offence after leaving prison where he served time for a 'sophisticated' fraud which saw him pocket the wages of five made-up workers.

According to this 2015 report by Wales Online, Hardy used the names of dead people from a local newspaper to create the aliases of the bogus employees.

Robert Sowter, defending, insisted Hardy - who is in a long-term relationship - committed the mobile phone fraud in a 'moment of stupidity'.

"He'd recently been released from prison, he was homeless, he didn't have family support then," Mr Sowter said.

"He was desperate so he tried to sell a mobile phone and didn't succeed in following through.

"Since this offence in August, 2016, he's worked very hard on his behaviour with the probation service and committed no further offences."

Mr Sowter said Hardy - who claims Universal Credit and cannot buy clothes from the high street because of his size - is 'in a very positive stage in his life'.

He added: "I believe he's going into business with a business partner.

"He intends to open a bar with assistance from others."

Sentencing Hardy to nine weeks of custody, suspended for 12 months, magistrates said he had 'shown a propensity to criminal behaviour' and had an 'appalling record'.

They also slapped Hardy with a curfew and ordered him to pay £325 in compensation to his victim.

Speaking to the Derbyshire Times after the case, Hardy said: "This offence happened a long time ago.

"I'm a changed man now - I've been working hard to turn my life around.

"I'm looking forward to opening the new bar next month."

Hardy was originally charged with three fraud offences but two were dismissed.