A BLACKBURN fraudster who has been given ‘chance after chance’ to stop offending has again been spared a jail sentence, after conning three women out of more than £6,000.

Aarif Patel, of The Larches in Bastwell, already had 16 previous convictions and was subject to the terms of a suspended sentence when he sold the women a bogus holiday to India, Preston Crown Court heard.

The 43-year-old received an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, as the judge said prison would ‘not be the best place’ for him.

The three offences of fraud by false representation took place between July and November 2012, after he met London financial worker Taryn Khanam at a business event.

He claimed to work with the Monarch travel firm and said he could get Mrs Khanam cheap package deals to India, although she would have to pay by cash transfer.

She later transferred £2,279 into his account, which she believed was controlled by Monarch, before her sister Jenin and friend Nadia Niazi, also from London, transferred similar amounts.

He then sent them a headed letter with a travel itinerary, but no tickets arrived before the holiday in December that year.

Patel denied the charges, but was convicted in his absence at Blackburn Magistrates in April, having repeatedly failed to turn up for a trial due to illness.

The crown court heard he had previous convictions for ‘dishonesty offences’, burglary, making false representation, and obtaining property through deception. He was also given a suspended prison sentence in June 2012 for taking a child without lawful authority.

Defence barrister Chudi Grant said Patel has suffered numerous mental and physical health problems in the past year, which have been exacerbated by his fear of a jail sentence.

Recorder Philip Parry said: “You have a history of acting dishonestly. Chance after chance after chance you’ve had from the courts.” But he said Patel has not offended for 18 months.

Patel was also given a supervision order for 12 months and a curfew order, and told to pay £400 costs.