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Funeral conman spared prison.

A fraudulent funeral director who misled grieving families has been spared jail.

Durham Crown Court heard how Christopher Westcott diverted phone lines from another firm of undertakers so he could attract business.

The 38-year-old, described as a `conman and fraudster' at an earlier hearing, was warned he faced prison if he stepped out of line again.

The court heard two families tried to book Westcott's former business partner, John Pennington, to handle funeral arrangements.

The calls were diverted to Cathedral Funeral Services, in Framwellgate Moor, Durham, operated by Westcott.

He admitted two counts of obtaining by deception after telling families Mr Pennington was no longer in the funeral business.

Mr Pennington only discovered the diversion when he rang his own number and the call was answered by Westcott.

Westcott was given 160 hours community punishment and ordered to repay pounds 1,180 profits on the two funerals and costs.

He previously served six months in jail and was fined for other offences of obtaining by deception.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 28, 2003
Words:166
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