So what's next for Joe Flynn? He's got a few scores to settle

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The last words of the master con man Barry Gray - better known as Joe Flynn, "King of the Sting" - as he left a London court this week must have sent a chill down the spines of those who plotted to entrap him. "I won't exactly be going back to my old tricks, but I have got a few old scores to settle, more than a few."

Not for the first, or perhaps the final time, Flynn had the last laugh over those who brought him to justice. While barristers, journalists and detectives left Southwark Crown Court convinced that the hoaxer would remain in prison at least until Christmas, confusion over the judge's sentencing remarks meant that Flynn "walked" the same day, having already served more than his two-year sentence awaiting extradition in a French jail and subsequently in Brixton.

Among those most fearful of reprisals must be the cadre of ex-Flying Squad officers now working for big private companies and security firms hit by Flynn, who put pressure on senior commanders at New Scotland Yard to put him behind bars.

The 10 sample charges of deception, amounting to a meagre pounds 3,250, that brought Flynn to book this week were never going to do justice to the quite breathtaking list of dupes among the great, good and not-so-good who have fallen foul of him. It is a roll call of which Flynn clearly remains proud.

"Any fool can go along and forge a cheque, but to set up a sting, to set up a scene where you have a lot of intelligent people believing it and parting with their money, is a different thing entirely," Flynn says.

"To do it successfully, you've got to be one jump ahead, you've got to think what their lawyer's thinking, got to watch every movement. Do they trust me? Are they aware? Have they tuned in? You're living on your wits. To me, the con game isn't criminal, it's a profession.

"When I end up pulling a sting, I actually believe it. In one, when I was posing as an Irishman, I spoke like a Paddy for 10 hours to myself beforehand in the hotel room. I forget everything. As far as I am concerned, I am what I am at that moment."

When he speaks of his motivation, one detects a sense of rejection over past business failure, tinged with a desire still to run with the big boys.

"It's really a pleasure, a real sense of achievement that I can still do it. As for the banks, the finance companies, the institutions, the politicians ... they're all a bunch of legalised conmen, every one of them. They feather their own nests. I know who I am. They honestly believe they are honest. I know I am a crook. Whatever way you flower it up, I'm a crook - but I don't pretend to myself that I am anything else."

The trouble for those unlucky enough to cross this latter-day Iago's path is that they stand every chance of not realising who he is - until it's too late.

PAUL CHARMAN

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