An alleged conman has been charged with defrauding investors out of millions of pounds in an unprecedented case against land banking fraud.

Stefan Mitchell, 41, from Coulsdon has been charged with conspiracy to defraud after allegedly duping investors into buying plots of worthless land.

This is the first time charges against this type of fraud - estimated to be worth £200million - have been brought in this country.

Mr Mitchell and three others are believed to have set up companies to con investors into parting with their hard earned cash by selling land which they marketed as suitable for future development. In reality, it was worthless.

Commissioner of the City of London Police, Adrian Leppard, said: “Land is a tangible asset and is increasingly viewed as a safer place to invest than stocks and shares.

“Unfortunately organised crime gangs appear to be wise to this and are now targeting people across the UK, especially the elderly and vulnerable, with cold calls offering bogus investments.

“These criminal charges are an important landmark.”

He said his team was committed to hunting down other fraudsters and is investigating similar cases all over the country.

Luke Dockwray, a lawyer in the CPS Central Fraud Group, said: “This is the first time the Crown Prosecution Service has brought a prosecution for a land banking fraud. The evidence we have suggests that these defendants sold land to investors by falsely representing that the land was suitable for future development and offered real investment opportunity.

“I considered over 16,000 pages of evidence gathered by the City of London Police during their investigation. Having reviewed that material, I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.”

The other men charged are Omar Eshpari, 30, from Enfield, North London, Dean Straker, 32, from St Albans, Hertfordshire, and Derial White, 26, from London.

They have been released on bail and are due to appear at City Magistrates on June 23.

DC David Parkinson of the City of London Police would like to hear from anyone who has invested in Pemberton International Ltd, Eldon International Ltd, Willow International Ltd and Allied Investment Management Ltd and can be contacted on either 0207 601 6984 or