Suspended sentence for fraudster who tried to swindle hotel with fake building society letter

The Novotel Stevenage. Picture: Google Street View

The Novotel Stevenage. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

A fraudster who forged a building society letter to try to get out of paying a four-figure hotel bill has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Darren Hicklin, of Swadlincote in Derbyshire, stayed at the Novotel Stevenage from May 29 last year until July 15 – when he left, leaving a £2,453 bill unpaid.

He presented the hotel management with a letter, apparently from Nationwide Building Society, claiming that his landlord would pay £550 per week to settle the account for him.

But the letter was a fake, created by the 36-year-old himself – who pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud when he appeared before a district judge at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Hicklin, who changed his plea after denying the charges at an earlier hearing, still received credit for his guilty plea from District Judge Malcolm Dodds.

But the judge noted the sophisticated nature of the fraud while sentencing him to 18 weeks behind bars, suspended for 24 months.

In addition to the suspended sentence, District Judge Dodds ordered Hicklin to pay the full £2,453 hotel bill in compensation, as well as £200 in prosecution costs and £115 surcharge.

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He must also fulfil a rehabilitiation activity requirement for the next 24 months.