March 16 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
A man who gained notoriety in the 1980s for organising some of Britain’s biggest raves has admitted using hi-tech gadgets to plunder huge sums of money from a bank in Swiss Cottage.
Tony Colston-Hayter has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal £1.3million of credit balances from a Barclays bank branch in Finchley Road, before diverting the cash to 41 separate bank accounts on April 5 last year.
Colston-Hayter caught the public eye in the late ‘80s when he was dubbed the “Mr Big” of the Acid House scene and became a leading protester against the Conservative government’s crackdown on outdoor raves.
At Southwark Crown Court on Monday, he admitted being in possession of a “vast quantity” of personal mail and bank details – estimated to be in the region of 400,000 documents – and a hi-tech 24 SIM phone exchange machine for use in order to commit fraud.
The 48-year-old also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud using credit cards on or before September 19 last year.
Prosecutors have said Colston-Hayter, of no fixed abode, was one of the ringleaders in a gang which stole card details belonging to thousands of people and raided Barclays and Santander branches using special devices.
Co-conspirators Michael Harper, 26, an estate agent of Kiln Place, Gospel Oak, and Darius Bolder, 34, of Ebury Bridge Road, Chelsea, pleaded guilty to using a credit card in the name of Mr Alfieri to buy three Rolex watches at Selfridges.
Bolder also admitted stealing credit balances from Barclays on or before April 5 last year.
Five other men charged in connection with the plot – Lanre Mullins Abudu, 25, of Putney, Akash Vaghela, 27, of Beavers Lane, Hounslow, Duane Jean-Jaques, 24, of Belsize Road, Steven Hannah, 42, of Bell Street, Marylebone, and James Lewis Murphy, 34, of Chelsea – deny various offences including charges of fraud, theft, and possession of articles for use in fraud.
They will go on trial at Southwark Crown Court on February 17.
Those who admitted their parts in the plot will be sentenced following that trial, Judge Alistair McCreath said.
Colston-Hayter and Mullins Abudu were remanded in custody, while the other defendants were released on bail.