A fraudster who sold tickets for the British Grand Prix he did not have has avoided a prison sentence.

Conman Justin Wilson took £400 from a man after he told him he could get tickets for last year’s event at Silverstone, a court heard.

Wilson got the money, but the tickets, which included lunch and access to the after-race party, never arrived.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told yesterday Wilson, 39, had a conviction for a similar scam involving tickets for other sporting events and a pop concert.

He was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence in February last year after he admitted fraud charges.

Richard Scott, prosecuting, said Wilson had provided Grand Prix tickets to Stephen Smith the previous year and Mr Smith asked for more expensive tickets this time.

Wilson claimed he could get tickets with the hospitality package and received £400 from Mr Smith.

The court heard the tickets never turned up and Mr Smith only found out two days before the event last July.

Wilson, of Knights Road, Coggeshall, admitted fraud and was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Recorder Colin Chandler told Wilson he would go to prison if he offended again.

Mr Scott said the earlier fraud had involved £5,000 worth of tickets for the Ashes cricket Test series, £24,750 for a Champions League football package and tickets for a Take That concert.

Wilson’s mother intervened in the Champions League scam and repaid £16,000, but the customer was still £8,750 out of pocket, the court was told.

Another £12,000 was handed to Wilson for an investment in a executive hospitality box, but this was also a scam, the court heard.

Paul Donnegan, mitigating, said Wilson had not set out deliberately to con Mr Smith.

He had been let down by others higher up the ticket chain.

Mr Donnegan said Wilson had a significant gambling problem and needed help.

As well as the suspended prison sentence, Wilson was given a 45-hour unpaid work order for breaking the terms of the previous suspended sentenence.

He must also take part in the thinking skills programme run by the probation service.