A South Wales couple have been handed suspended jail sentences after a ‘foolish’ attempt to defraud a car insurance company over a £25 parking ticket.
Swansea Crown Court yesterday heard the case of 20-year-old Rebecca Jacques, whose policy required her to have had a telematics device fitted in her Vauxhall Corsa to record her mileage, and her partner Gavin Price, 33.
Jacques worked as a care worker, but a change in her role meant she had to drive considerably longer distances, which would have resulted in higher premiums. She and Price then concocted a plan to switch number plates between their cars to avoid recording the extra mileage. The duo were rumbled when Jacques received a parking ticket in Swansea city centre, which she challenged by claiming the signage was unclear. When the city council, which operated the car park, produced a photograph, Jacques claimed the car was not hers and said the plates must have been cloned.
With events escalating, the council said it was unable to deal with the challenge until the alleged number plate cloning had been reported to police – when that happened, and officers visited the couple’s home in Greenway, Llandarcy, the fraud was uncovered.
Jacques and Price both pleaded guilty to fraud. Jacques also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice - by making false claims to the council and police about the cloned plates, and to driving with no insurance.
Judge Peter Heywood said the couple had been ‘dull enough’ to go through with a ‘foolish enterprise’ and said only Jacques' age had saved her from going straight to prison as he sentenced her to a total of six months in a young offenders institution suspended for 12 months, and Price to two months in prison suspended for 12 months. Jacques was also disqualified from driving for a month, and will have to undertake 80 hours of unpaid work. Price was ordered to complete a rehabilitation course and a thinking skills programme.