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David Carter, 58, from Hayle, was investigated by Cornwall Trading Standards after a customer became suspicious about the authenticity of a work she bought from him in 2011.

The investigation revealed that the picture, apparently by the primitive-style painter Wallis, was one of six works that Carter had purchased online for under £500 between 2009 and 2011. They were then offered by Carter as autograph pictures and priced at much-inflated sums.

Carter was handed a 12-month prison sentence (suspended for two years), ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service and to pay £50,000 towards the prosecution costs.