Lonely hearts con leads to jail again for Wolverhampton man

A conman who set up a bogus escort agency in a £76,000 scam almost 10 years after being locked up for a carbon copy crime was behind bars again today.

Stuart Aitchison
Stuart Aitchison

Stuart Aitchison, from Wolverhampton, made outlandish claims in adverts that attracted at least 370 men and women to pay registration and monthly fees to act as escorts when he had no database of clients for them to go out with.

Victims from as far afield as Aberdeenshire were lured by false promises of earning over £1,000-a-week, the court heard.

The unemployed 43-year-old father of three was jailed for three years and four months at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday.

Prosecutor Kevin Saunders said: “The offences attracted the naive, the gullible, the lonely and financially desperate.”

Aitchison was jailed for three and a half years in 2003 for a £300,000 fraud involving the earlier escort agency. The judge who sentenced him on that occasion observed that putting the defendant in charge of such an organisation was “like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank”.

The comment did not stop him launching a similar firm four years after being freed from prison. He even ran it from York Chambers, the same Wolverhampton city centre building used as a base for its ill-fated predecessor.

Masquerading under two names, Companions UK Professional Male Escort Service and Fleurs, his adverts promised payment of £150 an hour. Those who joined paid a registration fee of up to £114 and then as much as £55-a-month for extra services such as bespoke business cards.

Trading Standards officers found 370 completed application forms from would-be escorts in a pile on the floor outside a bedroom at the house Aitchison rented in Church Road, Oxley.

Recorder Mr Balraj Bhatia told him: “This was a large scale confidence fraud. Your cynical exploitation caused grief and untold misery.”

The Recorder officially commended Miss Marion Wilson who led the investigation by Wolverhampton Trading Standards Department that uncovered the crime.