A conman with a taste for the high life has been jailed for duping York and North Yorkshire hoteliers out of thousands of pounds.
As police scoured the country for Mark Anthony Chapman, he defied a ban on entering North Yorkshire and booked into the Rudding Park Hotel, near Harrogate.
He ran up a £3,167.33 bill there before police officers finally caught up with him as he played a round of golf at the luxury hotel.
Judge Stephen Ashurst, the Recorder of York, told him.“This was quite deliberate dishonesty in circumstances you were so practised at, you thought you could walk on water. You are, I am afraid, a dyed-in-the-wool fraudster.”
Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting, told York Crown Court Chapman also ran up a bill of about £3,000 at the Pavilion Hotel, Fulford, and £2,476.85 at the Old Lodge Hotel, Malton, between January 23 and late February and conned a bar in Malton into giving him £145.30 of drinks for free. In each case, he gave details of a credit card that did not work or falsely claimed his “employers” would pay the bill.
Chapman, 35, of Crawshaw Street, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud and one of failure to answer bail. He was jailed for two-and-a-half years.
It was the latest in a series of convictions for credit card and other frauds. In 2008, Chapman was jailed for nine months for eight charges of deception and four of false representation committed against a York hotel, upmarket restaurants and pubs, and in 2005, he was jailed for two years for stealing from the Westow pub where he worked and conning hotels, restaurants and pubs in York and Blackpool.
His solicitor advocate Damien Morrison said his latest crimes were not systematic and not committed over a long period of time.
Police arrested Chapman in January at the Fulford hotel, and released him on bail on condition he didn’t enter North Yorkshire. But he did not answer his bail in February and North Yorkshire Police sent out a nationwide alert for him.