Green energy fraudster Adrian Eyre jailed
A fraudster who duped 340 people in a renewable energy share scam which netted him almost £7m has been sent to prison and ordered to pay back £1.9m.
Bristol Crown Court heard Adrian Eyre, 64, from Derby, masterminded the elaborate investment fraud.
Eyre was convicted of three counts of fraud by false representation and jailed for seven and a half years.
Robert Fucilla, 42, from Barnet, who was also arrested as part of the inquiry, was acquitted by the jury.
Sentencing Eyre following a 10-week trial, Judge William Hart said "your hopes were paid for with other people's money".
A three-year investigation by detectives in Avon and Somerset Police's Complex Crime Unit proved Eyre used the money from investors to fund luxury goods and a lavish lifestyle for himself.
His purchases included a £136,000 Mercedes "gullwing" sports car.
Eyre showed potential investors, many of whom were vulnerable pensioners, a glossy brochure for Oxford Renewable Fuel Ltd.
He claimed the project had a consulting team of 40 scientists supporting it, had successfully tested the technology by fuelling a jet engine with methane gas and that a bio reactor had been built and was producing gas.
The brochure claimed the project was a "market leader in renewable energy". The directors of the company had invested £1.5m of their own money into the project, it claimed.
Eyre told investors he needed to raise a further £2m to scale up the operation and build a large bioreactor.
The court heard Eyre was found to have benefited from his crimes to the value of £6.8m.
A confiscation order of £1.9m was made, to be paid within three months.
Failure to pay the order by the agreed date could result in a further detention in custody, the judge said.