Fraudulent farmer found guilty of fleecing his victims
A west Suffolk farmer who fraudulently obtained over £765,000 in credit from suppliers was today convicted at Ipswich Crown Court following involvement from Suffolk Trading Standards.
Wayne Parker, 35, from Mildenhall, operated under Wayne Parker Farming and presented himself as a legitimate livestock owner with a successful sheep and cattle business.
This facade enabled Parker to be given credit by a wide range of companies including animal suppliers, agricultural equipment stockists, landlords and vets after he claimed to be a person of good standing who would pay what he owed.
Despite his assurances, Parker often made no attempt to settle his debts and, when he did, repeatedly didn’t have the funds to cover payments, resulting in bounced cheques. In addition, the farmer misled his creditors by using a series of delaying tactics such as alleging that there were problems with his bank account or that he had fallen victim to hackers.
Parker’s dishonesty didn’t end there; he provided screenshots to suppliers of purported confirmation of payments when this wasn’t the case.
His actions caught up with him as, after a court hearing lasting three weeks, Parker was found guilty today (Tuesday 11 October) of fraudulent trading and will be sentenced at a later date.
Graham Crisp, Head of Suffolk Trading Standards, commented on today’s outcome:
“We began our investigation into Wayne Parker after receiving multiple reports of him fraudulently obtaining credit between early 2018 to mid-2020.
“During this time, he racked up an astounding £765,121 of debt with his victims, many of whom were small business owners themselves who faced financial hardship as a direct result of Parker’s actions leaving them significantly out of pocket.
“This has been an incredibly lengthy and complex investigation, but I am delighted that our Trading Standards team has brought about a successful prosecution that will see Parker face justice for his crimes.”
Cllr Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, added:
“I am immensely grateful to officers from Suffolk Trading Standards for their tireless work on this case.
“Wayne Parker knew full well that he did not have the funds to pay off his debts, but this did not stop him from making more and more purchases, from livestock to luxury cars. Even once declared bankrupt, he continued to lie to suppliers, taking advantage of their trust and good faith in him without any thought to the consequences.
“We recognise that Parker is in the minority, with most business owners in Suffolk being true to their word. However, I hope today’s outcome sends a clear message to anyone tempted to use lies and deception to live beyond their means that this behaviour will not be tolerated in our county.”
Parker was previously prosecuted by Suffolk Trading Standards for posing a serious risk of spreading Bovine Tuberculosis. His crimes then included failing to dispose of farmed animal remains appropriately, moving large quantities of cattle without following the required processes and not keeping adequate records of his cattle.
At this sentencing, held at Ipswich Magistrates Court in February 2020, Parker received a 12-week custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge, along with costs to Suffolk Trading Standards.