Suspected fantasist allegedly conned car dealers

A suspected fantasist who claimed to represent a cross-community body allegedly conned car dealers into hiring out high-value vehicles, the High Court heard today.

Darren Lennox used aliases and said he was involved in an organisation called Frontline Ministries as part of an alleged scam across Northern Ireland, according to the prosecution.

The 36-year-old, of Kinsale Park, Derry, obtained one jeep valued at £25,000 and claimed he needed a tow bar attached for a trailer to take canoes onto the River Lagan, a judge was told.

Lennox faces more than 30 charges, including counts of fraud by false representation, taking fuel without paying, and driving while disqualified.

It was alleged that he arrived at a Garvagh car dealer in March in a Nissan Pathfinder jeep and arranged to hire out a van with a view to buying it.

Crown counsel Kate McKay said he claimed to represent Frontline Ministries, an organisation involved in cross-community work.

Lennox supplied a bogus address and gave details which turned out to be that of a taxi company, the court heard.

Checks on the jeep left at the premises revealed it belonged to another dealership, according to the prosecution.

Mrs McKay confirmed no vehicles were yet to be recovered and said investigating officers were “baffled” by what Lennox could be getting out of his alleged ruse.

She told a bail hearing: “Police believe he is somewhat of a fantasist, he makes these things up about this Frontline Ministries.

“He’s (allegedly) driving around the countryside in various vehicles, but it does seem a strange set of circumstances.

“Police have concerns about what really is going on in this man’s mind, what his motivation is.”

Lennox’s lawyer stressed there was no indication of vehicles being stolen, with all having been returned.

“These vehicles seem to have been taken out on test drives for the most part,” he said.

After disclosing that there were medical issues relating to his client the barrister asked to have the application put on hold until more information could be supplied.

The judge, Mr Justice Treacy, agreed to adjourn it generally.