Parents still waiting for theatre con cash

MELROSE, UNITED KINGDOM. - 12  Apr 2012 : 'Theatre / Opera Project'''(Photo by  ROB GRAY/digitalpic )'(Copyright � 2012, all rights reserved.)

MELROSE, UNITED KINGDOM. - 12 Apr 2012 : 'Theatre / Opera Project'''(Photo by ROB GRAY/digitalpic )'(Copyright � 2012, all rights reserved.)

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Parents who paid for their children to attend a Borders theatre group last year say they are still waiting to be ­reimbursed.

Music Theatre Scotland was set up in Newcastleton by Gary Feeney under the name Gary Adams. He promised to put on a school edition of Les Miserables.

More than 30 children paid up but it was later discovered that he was unknown to Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s firm who hold the performing rights.

One parent, who is waiting to be repaid £100, said: “We were all taken in by him. He let a lot of people down.”

But the publicity over the con led the authorities to catch up with Feeney, 44, who had been on the run for five years after admitting a series of frauds worth £7,500 in January 2008.

He was sentenced to 150 hours of community service at Arbroath Sheriff Court this month, which also made a compensation order for £7,478 to be paid back within a year.

Feeney pleaded guilty to placing adverts on website Sound on Sound under false names and inducing others to pay money to him for items he failed to send.

He obtained £2,570 this way between June and December 2006 and also admitted that between November 15 and December 8, 2006, he pretended to a member of staff at Digital Village in Romford that he was a representative of Angus College and ordered audio equipment worth £3,414 that he never paid for.

Feeney further pleaded guilty that on January 4, 2007 he pretended to the same Digital Village employee to work for Dundee College and ordered, but didn’t pay for, equipment valued at £1,494.

Some of the equipment 
was recovered during police raids in 2007. The money and goods were valued at 
£7,478.

Defence agent Nick Whelan said his client had been hospitalised with TB meningitis in 2008 but “accepts that he did not make himself available” to the courts.

Mr Whelan added that Feeney was a qualified musician who had acted “foolishly” by accepting a second offer for equipment he was selling.

Mr Whelan said: “It was relatively easy for him to obtain money for goods that he had no intention of supplying. It was not a complex fraud.”