Local boy' dupes regional press

Free publicity: how The Bath Chronicle’s website reported Stachis’s story

Roger Stachis certainly knows how to get in his local paper. And he knows how to get in everyone else’s local paper, too.

Stachis set up a website in April this year and since then he has appeared in more than 10 regional papers claiming to be from their local area and picking up valuable publicity in the process.

Each article reported how Stachis’s website was attracting the attention of “top Silicon Valley executives”.

But when he contacted the Evening Advertiser in Swindon hoping for some publicity, reporter Kevin Shoesmith decided to check his details.

Stachis had told the Advertiser he was originally from Swindon and had done his GCSEs and A levels there.

But as Advertiser deputy news editor Tom Morton explained: “We contacted the school and college he said he went to and they had no record of him. We put his name into a search engine and he came up in Bath saying very similar things.”

The Advertiser contacted The Bath Chronicle, which had only an e-mail address for Stachis.

Morton said: “We checked on the internet again and it seemed that Stachis had been around the country.”

Between the end of April and the beginning of May, Stachis appeared in a number of publications, including the Preston Citizen, which described him as Preston “born and bred”; the Cambridge Evening News, which said he was from Cambridge, and the Croydon Guardian, which reported that he came from Croydon.

Entering his name into Google brings up nearly 50 results, telling the same story but in different towns.

The Bath Chronicle reported how the website co-ordinator had gone to Beechen Cliff School, but the school had no record of him.

The Middleton Guardian, in Manchester, told how he was originally from Coniston Drive and a former pupil of Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, but again the school had no record of him. The Solihull Times said he was “originally from Knowle” and a “former Arden pupil”. Arden School had no record of a Roger Stachis in the past 20 years.

Morton said: “He’d done a bit of research and given the name of a school and a real address. It was very believable and it’s a lesson on how you should not take stuff on trust.”

Stachis has not responded to Press Gazette’s e-mails.

By Gareth Bethell

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