Three men have been jailed for defrauding hundreds of customers into paying inflated prices for Champagne Lantz in 1996 and 1997.

The firm claimed to be holding £30 bottles of champagne in its warehouses in advance of pre-millennium auctions at Christie's and Sothebyés. In reality, the champagne was on sale elsewhere for £12 and no auctions had been organised.

The company, the House of Delacroix, went out of business in 1997 leaving investors with huge losses. The convicted men are Craig Dean, Julian Blee and Lee Rosser.

The Independent 24/3/01 page 11