A DODGY joiner from Winsford has been given a suspended sentence after he duped more than £20,000 from unwitting customers across Cheshire and Manchester.

Allan Kenneth Barke, a professional joiner, who also used the name Allan Kenneth Bradley, ran CFF Joinery, a bespoke furniture company that was originally based in London Road, Macclesfield.

Between June and October 2016, he took deposits totalling £22,970 from 19 customers across Cheshire and Greater Manchester for a variety of different items.

Despite taking significant deposits of up to £3,300, none of the furniture was ever delivered.

The fraudulent activity was reported to Cheshire Police, and investigated by Detective Constable Paul Cundy of Northwich CID.

Barke was charged with, and pleaded guilty to 22 counts of fraud by false representation.

The 34-year-old, now of Cotswold Way in Winsford, was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Thursday, April 1.

He was sentenced to 22 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete 35 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 300 hours unpaid work.

Barke was also banned from driving for two years after he admitted to driving while disqualified and without insurance.

Investigating officer Paul Cundy, who is now the Beat Sergeant for Winsford, said: "Barkes victims trusted him.

"They believed that he was running a reputable business and paid him significant amounts of money for items which he never delivered.

"In each case, Barke attend the victim’s home and convinced them that they could buy bespoke furniture from him.

"Little did they know that he had no intention of ever delivering the furniture.

"Once he had received their deposits, he made repeated excuses as to why he wasn’t delivering their items, including saying that his van was broken, he had been in hospital, and that his mother was about to pass away.

"When asked for refunds, he cut off contact.

"Whether you are buying online or face-to-face, you should always research the company that you are buying from to make sure that it is a reputable supplier."