Conman Paul James jailed for M4 confidence scam
A conman who posed as a driver whose car had broken down on the M4 motorway to mislead motorists into handing over money has been jailed.
Paul James took cash from drivers, with no intention of paying them back, to fund his gambling habit and buy drugs.
The 47-year-old from Bristol admitted three counts of fraud by false representation.
The judge at Swindon Crown Court described James as "a dyed-in-the-wool conman" and jailed him for two years.
James would flag down motorists on slip roads between junction 15 for Swindon and junction 19 for the M32 near Bristol, the court heard.
He told them a "sob story" claiming his vehicle had broken down elsewhere and asked for a lift to the nearest service station.
En route he pretended to take a call from the Highways Agency and told the motorists he would be "charged a fortune" for his car to be moved.
Between May and September he is estimated to have pocketed about £1,350 through the scam.
Recorder Maria Lamb said James had "a shocking record" and noted the fact he had previously been convicted of identical offences as an "aggravating feature".