A man from Manchester has been given an eight-month prison sentence over a credit hire scam, in what law firm Weightmans believes is the first case of its kind

A fraudster has been sentenced to eight months in prison for contempt of court, in what law firm Weightmans believes may be a UK first.

Manchester local John Vernon claimed he had been involved in an accident with a national courier in August 2014, but exaggerated the extent of the damage done to his vehicle.

The swindler then made a series of false and costly insurance claims for hire cars, vehicle damage and legal costs worth £100,000.

Vernon claimed that his Audi Q7 was a complete write-off and said he had been forced to pay out for hire vehicles, as he had no access to another car at the time.

However, an investigation revealed Vernon’s bold-faced lies.

The fraudster had, in fact, had his Audi repaired and re-insured on a date after he argued it had been sold.

In addition, it quickly transpired that Vernon had no need for hire cars at all, as he had a vehicle in his possession that even had his own private number plate.

When Vernon’s dishonesty emerged, the courier involved in the alleged accident brought contempt proceedings against him.

At the hearing, which took place 5 February 2018, Judge Bird batted away Vernon’s protestations that he should be given a mere suspended sentence, instead sentencing him to eight months in prison.

According to law firm Weightmans, which represented the courier, this is the first time its team has come across a contempt case relating to credit hire fraud that has been heard in the High Court.

Weightmans associate, Jeff Turton cautioned motorists considering taking advantage of credit hire, commenting: “The sentence also encourages anybody who is offered a credit hire vehicle after a road traffic accident to really think about what they are signing up for.

”These vehicles are not courtesy vehicles and it is vital that a claimant is sure they actually need that vehicle before entering a credit hire agreement.”

Turton concluded: “It is equally important that the evidence a claimant gives in support of a compensation claim is totally honest and frank as, once lies are discovered, the consequences to that claimant may be far graver than the dismissal of their claim.”