A CHURCH pastor who was convicted of defrauding church members, friends and a school out of nearly £250,000 is on the run after failing to attend court for his sentencing.

Bruce Scott, 50, was seen by a traffic camera driving towards the motorway when he was scheduled to be sentenced.

The judge has ordered a warrant for his arrest after he was told the couple and their four children had been targeted by a vigilante campaign following their conviction for fraud and theft in November.

The pastor was expected to receive a jail term after he was found guilty with wife, Belinda, 43, of defrauding several people over 14 years.

The couple worked at the Covenant Church of the Cross, in Farnham Common.

Mrs Scott has been given a year’s conditional discharge by Judge Richard Parkes. She was convicted on one count of fraud by false representation.

Bruce Scott was convicted of 10 counts of fraud following a six-week trial at Reading Crown Court.

Nine victims parted with a total of £250,000, with one in South Africa losing her home after giving them £41,000.

The couple made agreements or arrangements to pay instalments, fees or rent, but failed to do so and put forward spurious reasons or delaying tactics so they did not have to make any payments.

The jury was told Bruce Scott took over a commercial lease in Market Square, Amersham, but failed to pay the couple £45,000.

He also falsely promised to repay £60,000 to Mario Petrou, a friend from church.

Mr Petrou had been loaned the money for a share in a restaurant but no financial returns ever came and the lender’s family life fell apart with the pressure of repaying the loan.

Scott also failed to repay £41,020 to George Criticos, £17,000 to Philip Burley, nearly £10,000 pounds to Michael Spinks and £20,000 pounds to Zahlia Wilcox.

Scott took £5,575 from pensioner June Davis claiming it would go to the church, and failed to pay more than £8,000 in rent for a property in Burnham.

The Scotts also owed nearly £10,000 in school fees for their children.

The couple had 15 bank accounts at the same branch of Lloyds TSB, some held jointly and others separate.

Scott was also convicted of failing to pay rent totalling more than £32,000 in commercial rent for a premises in Farnham Common.

Scott was seen driving his car on the A40 towards Beaconsfield at around 2.50pm on Thursday, January 16.

Police confirmed this morning a warrant is still out for Scott’s arrest.