A COMPULSIVE conman who has spent two decades adopting 21 different aliases to scam victims out of hundreds of thousands of pounds is back behind bars today.

Sebastian Astbury has previously posed as an MI5 agent, a banker, a Lord, a Royal Navy officer, a Royal Marine, a property developer, a shipping magnate, a wine maker and a luxury car salesman to hoodwink his victims.

The fantasist, who has 66 previous convictions for fraud, began cheating his latest victim just months after being released from prison for a previous con.

Daily Echo: Sebastian AstburySebastian Astbury

He posed as a landscape gardener to swindle £3,000 out of an unsuspecting customer.

Shortly after paying the money up front, the victim received a worrying message from the website MyBuilder explaining it had removed Astbury's company from its listings and closed his account.

Astbury, whose real name is Andrew Penfold but has also been called Zac Langley, disappeared and ignored the man’s calls.

The 44-year-old offender was jailed for two-and-a-half years for fraud and breaching a serious crime prevention order.

One of Astbury's previous offences involved conning a woman he met on plentyoffish.com and her mother out of over £100,000 after pretending to be a wealthy Royal Marine officer.

Daily Echo: Sebastian AstburySebastian Astbury

He was released from prison in February 2021 after serving 12 months of a two-year sentence for another con.

Astbury posed as a car salesman to swindle four men out of more than £25,000 to lease luxury vehicles that didn't exist.

A condition of his early release was an order not to accept money from potential customers without showing them his prior criminal convictions.

But he soon set about starting a landscaping business, New Forest Landscape and Design, which he advertised on MyBuilder.

Mike Mason, prosecuting, told Bournemouth Crown Court said the victim of the latest con, who lived in Dorchester, decided to have landscaping work done.

“Mr Astbury requested an up-front payment of £2,415 for materials. A few days later he requested a further £655 for extra costs,” Mr Mason said.

"The victim received a message from MyBuilder advising him that they had removed (Astbury's business) from their site and were closing the account.

"The materials were due to arrive on July 8 and 9 and the work was due to begin on July 12 however none of the materials arrived and no one turned up to do the work.

"After July 9 the victim tried many times to contact Mr Astbury asking for a refund of his monies but to no avail."

Mr Mason read a victim impact statement describing how Astbury's scam had left him with feelings of 'hopelessness and stupidity'.

He said he found it 'traumatic' paying for a new car by bank transfer in case he was ripped off again.

Neil Hinton, mitigating, described his client, of Brecon Close, Dibden Purlieu, as a “charismatic and persuasive” man who gets “carried away” by compulsive spending sprees.

He said: "The court is faced with a catalogue of previous convictions which are almost identical.

"Mr Astbury has been extremely straightforward when describing what happens. He is generally somebody who people find pleasant.

"He has got some charisma which is why he has been so able to persuade people to trust him.

"He has gone into these (business) ventures with the best of intentions. He is capable of doing good work and a number of people have got what they asked and paid for.

"It seems to me that things get on top of him and he spends money he gets upfront on other things rather than the job at hand.

"He spends more money than he can keep up with and it ends up being a fraud.

"This seems to be a man who is acting almost by compulsion. If he is able to break that cycle he would be able to earn a decent living."

As well as jailing him, Judge William Mousley QC ordered Astbury, who admitted a charge of fraud, to pay £1,500 in compensation.