The fraudster had her car towed and set on fire as part of the elaborate scam
A fraudster has been sentenced after faking a burglary in an attempt to scam compensation from her insurance company.
Hayley Barlow, 36, pleaded guilty to fraud, perverting the course of justice and possession of class A drug (cocaine) at Chester Crown Court in December last year.
On Tuesday, she was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for one year.
In the early hours of 4 July 2018, Barlow called the police to report a burglary.
She claimed that she had woken up to discover that her car keys had been taken from her home and the vehicle parked outside – a Volkswagen Golf – had been stolen.
She then called her insurer, and submitted a £2000 claim for her apparently stolen car.
On the night of Tuesday 3 July, firefighters had put out the fire in the car and the surrounding bushes after it was set alight on Green Lane in Saughall.
The vehicle was completely destroyed by the blaze, but officers found that the car was missing its engine when set alight.
Barlow denied tha the car was missing its engine and claimed that the car was in full, working order when it was ’taken’.
She also told officers that she fell asleep at around 7pm on the night of the alleged burglary, and that she had not left the house before calling the police.
However, CCTV footage shows that Barlow had in fact arranged for a man she knows with a van to tow away the car for £20.
She sat in the car as it was towed before setting it alight using a canister of butane gas at around 9.10pm before heading back home.
She was subsequently arrested at her home on Tuesday 10 July 2018, where a search uncovered a wrap of cocaine.
She admitted possessing the cocaine, and after being presented with all the evidence against her – including CCTV footage of her in the car as it was being towed – Barlow also admitted to lying to the police, reporting a burglary that did not happen, setting fire to her VW Golf and making a fraudulent insurance claim.
She attributed her actions to the mounting debt she was accruing as a result of repair costs on the car.
“Evidence was overwhelming”
Detective constable Nicky Edgell, of Cheshire Police said: “Not only did Barlow report a burglary to the police that did not happen and attempt to defraud her insurance company with a £2,000 claim for a car that was not stolen, she caused a potential environmental and health hazard by setting fire to the vehicle.
“Due to the temperatures at the time of the offence and the dryness of the dense undergrowth along Green Lane, the fire spread a considerable distance from the vehicle and posed a risk to the fields and farms nearby.
“Thankfully firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it could spread further, but many hours have been spent investigating Barlow’s burglary report and subsequently her offences, including obtaining witness accounts, photographing scenes, conducting interviews and examining phone reports, telecoms data and CCTV.
“Barlow had the opportunity to admit her fraudulent actions early on in the investigation but chose not to, continuing to lie until the evidence against her was overwhelming.
“I would like to thank all the officers involved in the investigation for their hard work in untangling Barlow’s web of lies and securing this conviction.”
Barlow was also ordered to adhere to a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and pay a £115 victim surcharge.