Bristol

Green energy fraudster Adrian Eyre jailed

Adrian Eyre Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Adrian Eyre masterminded a fraud which netted him almost £7m

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".

Confiscation order

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.

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