Champagne Charlie Confesses to Bollinger Fraud

Tattooed conman spotted by detective on Clapham bus

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A conman who was nicknamed Champagne Charlie has confessed to stealing over £18,000 from London businesses by selling them non-existent bottles of Bollinger.

John Clugston, 64, from Southwick in Sussex. pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud by false representation at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Clugston was arrested on Tuesday after being spotted by one of the detectives trying to find him, Scotland Yard said.

She noticed him on a bus at Clapham Junction, south London, and detained him.

Clugston, who has no fixed address, was remanded in custody, and will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on a date which has yet to be confirmed.

Police believe Clugston committed offences in Hammersmith and Fulham as well as Kingston, Southwark, Westminster, Lambeth, Camden, Hackney and the City of London.

The "friendly" conman told firms that he was from a nearby office and had bottles of Bollinger left over from a party he was willing sell for a low price.

After agreeing a price of up to £1,500, he took the money in cash and promised to return with the champagne. Of course, he was never seen again.



July 29, 2011