A CROOKED Poulton art dealer who cheated rich and famous clients out of more than a quarter of a million pounds assets have dwindled to just £2,500, a judge heard last week.

Even that small sum is not immediately available to compensate Jonathan Poole's victims because it is tied up in a painting which he jointly owns with one of his victims, Gloucester crown court was told.

The painting of model Kate Moss by artist Sebastian Kruger had initially been valued at £15,000.

But last Friday at a proceeds of crime hearing prosecutor James Ward conceded that its value is only £5,000.

That means that Poole is liable to hand over just £2,500 under the Proceeds of Crime Act, even though the total loss to his victims was over £250,000.


Art dealer Jonathan Poole, of Poulton near Cirencester, is currently serving a prison sentence for theft and fraud

Judge Michael Cullum formally ordered Poole to pay the £2,500 within three months or he will have to spend an extra two months in jail - on top of the four year term he is currently serving for 24 offences of theft and two of fraud.

At earlier hearings the court was told that Poole, who ran the Compton Cassey Gallery near Cheltenham, cheated clients including TV illusionist Derren Brown and Dire Straits guitarist John Illsley.

His biggest victim was Edinburgh company director Mark Noble - who jointly owns the Kate Moss painting with him. Mr Noble lost £142,000 to Poole's scams.

Poole represented artists including Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood and the estate of John Lennon and sold paintings on their behalf.

The court heard that during a 30 year period Poole cheated and deceived some of his clients - telling them he would sell paintings for them but then pocketing the proceeds without informing them there had been a sale.

One one occasion he sold a £10,000 painting twice but never delivered to either of the buyers.

His own brother, Nicholas, was also a loser after paying Poole £10,000 for a Ronnie Wood painting that belonged to one of the gallery's clients.

Poole, of Poulton, nr Cirencester, Glos, had pleaded guilty to the 24 offences of theft and two of fraud for which he was jailed.

On Friday he refused to leave his cell at Channings Wood prison near Newton Abott, Devon, to attend the confiscation hearing and the jail said it did not have enough staff to supervise a video link hearing.

Therefore the hearing went ahead in Poole's absence. Mr Ward said it was understandable that he did not wish to attend as he is n poor health and it is a long distance to travel.

Judge Cullum said there was no prejudice to Poole to deal with the case in his absence because the reduction in value of his assets and the amount he will have to forfeit is in his favour,

Mr Ward had told the judge the painting was initially valued at £15,000 by an auction house used by the CPS.

It had now been valued, however, by the Pall Mall Auction House which handles all Mr Noble's sales and purchases and they had assessed it at £5,000 as it was damaged.