A loan shark who charged up to 40 per cent interest was a hapless ‘Del Boy’ style character who failed to get his cash back, a court heard.
When police raided former miner John Jones’s home, they found an account book with names and repayment details of 65 customers from his illegal money lending service.
Jones’s lawyer Richard Wright said his client was a “bit of a ‘Jack the Lad’, something of a ‘Del Boy.’”
Mr Wright added: “They never paid him back, those lent money to. And he never asked for it back.”
Jones, of Guinevere Drive, South Elmsall, near Pontefract, first came to the attention of the police after twice selling illegally imported tobacco to undercover officers in April.
That investigation led to a search of his house, when documents relating to his unlicensed money lending service were discovered.
Prosecutor Simon Clegg said Jones, 54, admitted lending money and charging up to 40 per cent interest.
Mr Clegg told the court: “He owned eight properties and rented these out and didn’t pay tax on the income.”
Jones was said to have suffered a heart attack and went on to buy the houses with cash he received from a medical insurance pay out.
His lawyer Mr Wright added: “Being a man who had money in a working class community he lent to friends and neighbours.”
Most of the houses Jones owns are now in negative equity and he works as a delivery driver for Comet. He has six previous convictions for 10 previous offences, mainly for dishonesty.
Mr Wright said: “Much of his earlier offending related to stealing coal during the miner’s strike when he was a collier.”
Jones admitted unlicensed money handling and three charges of fraudulent evasion of duty relating to illegal tobacco sales.
Judge James Spencer QC sentenced him to a 12 month community order with supervision and 280 hours unpaid work. A proceeds of crime investigation found Jones earned £47,399 from his criminal activities.
But the court heard only £3,189.75 was available and Jones was ordered to pay that amount back.