If you’ve been a regular Reporter reader in recent years, the name Andrew Gradon should mean something. He was the British conman whose sob story fooled unwary travellers at airports around Europe, including Nice. Many handed him cash, which he promised to repay, but never did. We first exposed him in 2009 and by 2010 our web forum featured a stream of comments posted by his many victims. He openly taunted them and this magazine with posts such as “you got ripped off and can’t handle it” or “mike meade is a idiot and could not catch a snail” (sic). The BBC’s “Inside Out” programme invited Publishing Director Meade to report live on air on two occasions, sending a crew to Nice for one of the interviews, but Gradon remained uncatchable. Each fraud was too petty to merit much police attention and he moved continuously from country to country, thanks to considerable gains from his swindles.
Our online thread disappeared when we revamped the Reporter website but we had archived the text which became useful when we worked with the Sunday Telegraph’s Robert Mendick for his report on Gradon’s German conviction for fraud in early May 2015.
Gradon is currently serving a 10-month sentence. He claims to be a reformed man who will go to work for his brother’s agricultural business when he is released – a claim flatly denied by the brother. Their father told the Telegraph that Gradon “deserves” his prison term.
Helping to nab the Durham scammer wasn’t quite as newsworthy as the capture of Saddam Hussein but we do take some pleasure in repeating the words of Paul Bremer, then Head of US Occupation in Iraq, “Ladies and Gentlemen: We got him!”