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Police hunt for Northern Ireland's biggest conman Henry Douglas

This is the rogue trader who fleeced his customers – and is now trying to dodge punishment.

Serial crook Henry Douglas is being hunted by police after he failed to turn up to court for sentencing for a string of offences.

The 52-year-old may look harmless but he is one of Northern Ireland's most prolific fraudsters.

The odd-job man has a long history of convictions for ripping off his customers and has operated under numerous bogus trading names.

When he last appeared in court two years ago, a judge handed him a suspended sentence after branding him a swindler and a cheat who preyed on innocent people.

Yet Douglas did not learn his lesson and was up to his old tricks a month after he narrowly avoided prison.

Yesterday he was due back before court after admitting 10 counts of fraud by false representation, plus charges of theft and obstructing police.

Dodgy Douglas conned customers into believing he was qualified to fix their ovens, washing machines, dishwashers, fridge freezers and cookers.

But it was far from the truth and, in one case, Douglas even made off with the oven door, worth around £100, plus £20 of the customer's cash.

The offences occurred from July 31, 2012 to March 16 last year.

Douglas, of Laurel Lodge, Flush Park in Lisburn, initially denied any wrongdoing but later admitted all 12 charges.

He was due in court two weeks ago but never showed up, prompting a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.

The case was relisted for yesterday but there is still no sign of him.

A judge deferred the matter until June.

Douglas was last in court in June 2012 when he was convicted of five counts of theft after charging for work on domestic appliances without doing any of the repairs.

At the time his six-month prison term was suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to pay compensation totalling £310.

During a previous court hearing the judge told Douglas he was a swindler and a cheat who preyed on householders.

He described his actions as systematic theft, branding him a convicted thief and fraudster.

Nor was this the first time Douglas's scheming had landed him in bother.

In 2010 Consumerline, the consumer advice service run by Trading Standards, had received complaints from unhappy customers who had paid money for work which was not done.

In several cases Douglas asked customers for money to buy parts for the repair, promising to return the following day to carry out the work.

Invariably, he was never seen again.

The trading names he is believed to have used include A1 Appliances, Master Care Dishwasher Repair and Servicing, EE Supplies, Rest Easy, Windmill Telecom, Windmill Appliances, Invomo Ltd, Cameras R Me, Douglas Electrics, 365 Supersparks, Calabar Electrics, Gordon Douglas Appliance Repairs, Domestic Appliance Repairs and Cooker Guy.

If you have been a victim of Douglas contact arutherford@ belfasttelegraph.co.uk or telephone 028 9026 4428

Belfast Telegraph