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Restaurateur jailed for surplus wine con

Published:  25 October, 2011

A man behind a wine scam which conned wine lovers out of £380,000 has been jailed.

Newspaper ads placed by Denis Lefranq and others offered a selection of top wines said to have been sourced from bankrupt French restaurants.

The ads, which appeared in newspapers such as the Telegraph and Daily Mail, directed consumers to a website called

Alarm bells began to ring when orders failed to arrive and soon a hunt was underway for Lefranq, who ran a successful restaurant in Leeds called 3 York Place but had hit financial difficulties.

The 36-year-old was traced to Prague and brought back to the UK to face charges.

Lefrancq, formerly of Little Neville Street, Leeds, admitted conspiracy to defraud and was sent to prison for two years four months.

Judge Rodney Grant said: "You fell prey to the temptation of entering into this scheme in order to defraud members of the public of their money.

"It may very well be the case that others in fact thought up the fraud, but it is clear that you were a willing participant."