Conman stings hotel for $2200

CONMAN Robert Ian Allwood had posed as a police sergeant to stay at a five-star hotel where he racked up more than $2000 in food, drinks and accommodation costs, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Allwood, 42, had conned staff of the Sebel Hotel in Brisbane into believing he was the visiting South Australian policeman.

He had earlier booked into the hotel and stayed for a number of days before leaving without paying the $2294 bill, prosecutor Senior Constable Mark McKenzie told the court.

The Sebel sting was just one of numerous cons the native South Australian itinerant had committed between December 2006 and May this year, all of which he pleaded guilty to yesterday.

Allwood had used a cheque book from his failed catering business in South Australia to acquire goods and services across three states including accommodation and room service at a number of hotels and motels; hire cars; groceries and other living expenses during the past four-and-a-half years, the court heard.

On one occasion, he had used his powers of persuasion to convince staff of a Brisbane auto repair shop that he was there to pick up a rental vehicle under repair which he subsequently drove off but never returned.

Sen. Const. McKenzie told the court Allwood had driven another hire car from Queensland into New South Wales where he abandoned it, the car later found with $15,000 damage.

However, because it could not be proven that Allwood was responsible for the damage, restitution was difficult to seek, he said.

That offence aside, complainant businesses were out of pocket a total $14,182 due to Allwood's activities – none of which would be recouped as the conman had no capacity to repay the debt, the court heard.

Allwood was eventually located in Toowoomba on May 11 and had since been held in custody until his pleas of guilty yesterday to a string of offences including 21 counts of fraud, 13 of forgery, 13 of uttering a forged document, and five of unlawfully using motor vehicles.

Magistrate Damian Carroll noted much of Allwood's “brazen” offending stemmed from his drug habit.

Mr Carroll sentenced Allwood to eight months jail to be followed by two years probation.