A notorious conman who lived a £100,000 life of luxury by stealing other people’s identities has been ordered to repay just £1,551.22.
Kevin Castle followed post office vans on their rounds through country lanes in Devon and Somerset and stole personal letters from isolated farms and homes with letterboxes at the ends of their drives.
He used his horde of stolen documents to apply for credit cards which he intercepted from the letter boxes and used to run up huge debts in other people’s names.
Castle lived in a five bedroomed luxury farmhouse with 11 acres of land at West Buckland, near Taunton, Somerset where he and his partner Cathryn Russell had a stable with six horses.
The home was decorated with expensive designer furniture and equipped with the latest wide screen televisions and sound systems, all bought on credit or with other people’s cards.
Castle, aged 47, is one of Britain’s best known conmen, who has lived in the past by posing as a Porsche-driving, Armani-wearing millionaire and preying on rich women at top London hotels.
At one time the penniless unemployed mechanic spent a month living in Claridges Hotel where he ran up a £15,000 bill.
Castle was jailed for four years at Exeter Crown Court in April last year after admitting 26 counts of fraud, one of stealing the mail and acquiring criminal property.
Mother-of-three Russell admitted four counts of fraud and was given a community sentence and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.
Russell returned to Exeter Crown Court today but Castle was not produced from jail as the Proceeds of Crime case against the pair was settled.
Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, assessed Castle’s benefit from crime as £108,254.50 and Russell’s as £5,604.50 but assessed the available amount as £3,102.44 and ordered each to pay £1,551.22 or face 45 days in prison in default.
Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said items including furnishings from the house and tack from the stables had been seized by the police and sold online.
She said:”The defendants signed disclaimers regarding these items and they have now been sold on eBay by the police. They have realised a sum which leaves us with an available amount for each defendant of £1,551.22.
“The order will state that payment must be made within three months but that is academic because the police already have the money.
“The same applies for the period in default. The court must set a number of days, but the money is already there, so they will not be served.”
Mr Sean Brunton, defending, said the order was agreed by both defendants.
Castle’s swindle continued for months before one of his victims turned detective to discover who had stolen his identity.
Roofer Steve Bloomfield realised someone was intercepting his mail and set up a secret camera to watch the letter box of his home in Hemyock, East Devon.
He caught Castle red handed, handed his evidence to the police and they tracked down to his base at West Buckland where they found documents he had stolen from other homes in North and East Devon and Somerset.