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A publishing fraudster has been nailed following an investigation by Stoke-on-Trent trading standards officers and Staffordshire police.

Paul Kemp, from Cheshire, led the fraud, worth at least £700,000, which involved setting up bogus publishing businesses that purported to produce anti-drugs leaflets for school children.

The business names included The Publication Company (TPC), MM Publications (MMP), DotCom Publications (DotCom) and React Publications (React).

A Cheshire fraudster who deceived businesses into backing a bogus anti-drugs campaign has been jailed for four and a half years.

Peter Kemp was charged with three others following an investigation into the fraud, which was worth at least £700,000, by Staffordshire Police's Economic Crime Unit and Stoke-on-Trent City Council Trading Standards officers.

Kemp instigated call centres in Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport and Macclesfield which rang local businesses to persuade them to sponsor leaflets to be sent to a school of the donor's choice. Upon payment, the donor received a sample leaflet but no leaflets were sent to the chosen schools.

Kemp pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to obtain property by deception.  Christopher Gibbs, from Lancashire; Michael Schaffer, from Stockport, and Denis Earle, from Newcastle, all pleaded guilty to the same offences.

They were all sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years with 250 hours unpaid work.