Dennis Stokes proved the old adage that "there's no fool like an old fool" as far as Fred Elliott was concerned in May 2004 when he conned the butcher into taking up with a Thai bride.

Fred was playing a bad-tempered game of golf with Mike Baldwin when they bumped into Dennis and his oriental wife Lily. Back at the clubhouse at Weatherfield Golf Club, Dennis (who Mike knew from the Chamber of Trade) told the two men that he married his bride a mere month after she flew in from the orient. He further informed them that eastern women were not like their western counterparts, only interested in looks and money, but instead went for kindness, sincerity and generosity. Fred was intrigued and questioned Dennis how he went about meeting Lily, only to be told that it was through the internet where, "one click of the mouse and you can be talking to Bangkok as easy as if it were Burnley." He was also quite taken with the description Dennis gave of the many early nights he and his younger wife enjoyed.

After having made tentative enquiries about joining the World Wide Web, Fred left the details of the dating application on the internet in Dennis's capable hands. He also passed on a photograph to post on the site but this was taken by Dennis to a Levenshulme Market stallholder called Stacy Hilton who was involved in his scams and she agreed to pose as Orchid Pattaya, a suitable bride for Fred.

A week later, Dennis returned with the fictitious responses to Fred's post and he was suitably taken with "Orchid". Dennis took a thousand pounds off him to buy her airline ticket to the UK and within a day Fred was at Manchester Airport to meet the new love of his life, who Dennis merely showed in one door of the terminal in order that she could mingle with the crowds leaving the Bangkok flight. Orchid spent the day with Fred, meeting his friends, neighbours and aghast son, Ashley Peacock, however at the end of the day, and after a romantic meal, she said she would go and stay with a lady that was the niece of her father's cousin as it would not be honourable to stay under his roof. In reality, she went straight back to Dennis, telling him that she'd never spent such a boring evening in her life but their victim was well hooked.

After several days of courting and expensive presents, Dennis rang "Orchid" posing as a member of her family back in Thailand and telling her she had to return as her father was ill. Fred was concerned that he would never see his intended fiancée again but Dennis suggested that money sent back home for nursing care would mean that Orchid would be free to return to him and that a lump sum of five thousand pounds should cover all future costs. Orchid was presented with a cheque for the suggested sum which, after some feigned reluctance, she agreed to take.

One person who was very suspicious of Fred's sudden romance was Rovers cleaner Harry Flagg who took the opportunity to follow Dennis in his car after he had made one of his appearances in the pub. The trail led to the market when he saw Dennis and Stacy together and overheard the two talking about their scam with Fred. He then told Ashley who suggested a trip to the market with Fred, as Orchid would supposedly be there buying material for her bridesmaids' dresses. Fred was devastated to hear Stacy's strident Mancunian tones and her and Dennis in close collusion. Accusing the pair of being fraudsters in front of Stacy's customers, Fred threatened the police and next day turned up at the market again with "Inspector Flagg" of CID. Dennis said that Stacy had gone to Ibiza with her gains and ended up giving Fred the contents of his wallet (while proceeding to retain a wad of cash in his jacket pocket) and promising to resign from the golf club without delay.

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