Pair sentenced for £8,000 car insurance fraud

02/04 Updated: 05/04 09:33

A MAN who bought a written-off car from a scrap yard before his partner made a bogus insurance claim for its full value has been jailed.

Andrew Morris and Sharon Billingham had both denied conspiring to commit fraud and concealing criminal property, but were found guilty by a jury at Warwick Crown Court.

Morris, 43, of Warwick Road in Wolston, who was also convicted of acquiring the key to a stolen VW, was jailed for 15 months.

But Billingham, 41, of Hornsey Close, Coventry, was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work by Judge Trevor Faber.

He told them: "Frauds of this nature on insurance companies are rife. It is offences such as this which make insurance premiums for honest people so high."

During the trial earlier in the year it was heard how in August 2009 Skyways Salvage in Coleshill sold a written-off Vauxhall Corsa for £950 to a man calling himself Andrews and giving Morris’s address.

The car was insured by Billingham for £8,000 with Provident Insurance Company in April, using Morris’s address although they claim now to be ex-partners.

Two months later she made an insurance claim, saying it had been stolen while they were in an Indian restaurant.

But the court was told there was no evidence of a theft where the Corsa was said to have been parked and, with it having an individualised electronic key entry system, it would have been hard

to get in and start without the key.

The insurance company, which was sent what purported to be a receipt for the purchase of the Corsa for £7,800 from a man in Leicester, was suspicious and did not pay out.

A police investigation found no record of the car showing up on automatic number plate recognition cameras anywhere in the Midlands.

The attempted fraud had taken place after Morris and Billingham had already been arrested for concealing stolen property following the theft of a VW Golf owned by Leamington man David Glover in January 2010.

Morris had a large number of previous convictions for dishonesty, including a benefit fraud committed with Billingham, and one for inflicting grievous bodily harm.

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