A serial conman defrauded Britain’s Energy Coast out of more than £40,000 and bought a collection of luxury cars for himself.

James Cox , 51, was employed by BEC as its finance director between March and August of last year on a salary of £65,000.

However it emerged in court that he falsified a CV and gave the organisation email addresses for references that came back to him.

Cox, who is of no fixed address but was last found to be living in a Premier Inn in Weston-Super-Mare, admitted two counts of fraud and four counts of transferring criminal property.

The fraudster has two similar previous convictions, totalling prison sentences of 10 years, including one in Reading in 2000 where he obtained nearly £3m so he could compete in Formula One GTR motor racing.

Operating under the alias of James Munroe, Cox even hired model Caprice and pop star Paul Young to promote the team.

Magistrates in Carlisle heard how when Cox was employed with BEC he was negotiating giving a £100,000 loan from the organisation to a local firm.

Part of the deal meant the client would also have access to an extra £40,000 should it be needed.

Prosecutor Pamela Fee told the court that when accounts were checked BEC found that £140,000 had been taken out when it should have been £100,000.

On closer inspection the signature used for the £40,000 bore no resemblance to the one on file for the legitimate client.

“It was found that £40,490 had been transferred to a Jaguar company and the paperwork was with Mr Cox,” said Mrs Fee.

He then part exchanged the Jaguar XK for a BMW and then for two separate Mercedes cars between May and August of last year.

He was asked by BEC to leave his position on August last year.

Cox was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on May 20.