Wolston man jailed over £8,000 insurance scam

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A couple bought a written-off car and then tried to get an insurance payout for its full value, claiming it had been stolen.

But they were caught because the Vauxhall Corsa had not been spotted by a single numberplate recognition camera since Andrew Morris had bought it.

The 43-year-old, of Warwick Road, Wolston, was found guilty by a jury at Warwick Crown Court of conspiring to commit fraud, concealing criminal property and acquiring the key to a stolen car.

His partner Sharon Billingham, 41, of Coventry, was convicted of conspiring with him to commit fraud and concealing criminal property.

Prosecutor Michelle Heeley had told the jury the case involved one stolen car found in a workshop at Morris’s home and two others it was claimed were stolen in order to receive insurance payments.

A stolen car turned up at Morris’s home, so the police did more digging and discovered the insurance fraud.

In August 2009 a salvage yard in Coleshill had sold a written-off Vauxhall Corsa for £950 to a man calling himself Andrews and giving Morris’s address. Billingham insured the car for £8,000 using Morris’s address.

Two months later she made a £7,800 insurance claim, saying it had been stolen.

Morris was also charged with a similar scam with his daughter Louise Morris, 26, of Coventry, after he was said to have bought an Audi A4 from the same scrapyard in July 2008 – leading to a £14,482 payout to Louise when that was reported stolen. The jury found them both not guilty.

The attempted fraud with the Corsa had taken place after Morris and Billingham had already been arrested for concealing stolen property following the theft of a VW Golf owned by a Leamington man

After the jury returned its verdicts, Judge Trevor Faber agreed to adjourn the cases against Morris and Billingham for pre-sentence reports, and granted bail to Billingham.

He rejected a bail application for Morris, who has a large number of convictions for dishonesty, and remanded him in custody.

Judge Faber said: “You know perfectly well a custodial sentence is inevitable, and I see no reason why you should not start serving that sentence now.”