Pair convicted over attempt to con the courts

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

Two men have been convicted after an elaborate scheme to try to get one of them acquitted of an offence of driving without insurance.

Luke Craig (27) was stopped by the police on May 10th, 2015 on Accrington Road, Burnley, and had no insurance for the vehicle that he was driving, a Ford Transit Van. He offered no explanation about why there were no insurance details listed for the vehicle which he said was his own.

When summonsed to appear at Burnley Magistrates’ Court for having no insurance Craig dishonestly claimed that he did have valid insurance as his primary vehicle was being serviced and that he had been stopped driving a courtesy car provided by the garage.

This would mean, if true, that the insurance company would provide valid insurance cover. This was different to what he said at the time of being stopped.

Where the claim by Craig fell down was that there was traffic camera footage that proved that the vehicle said to belong to Craig and in Ian Pilkington’s garage being serviced was actually being driven by the genuine registered owner of the vehicle and was completely unrelated to the pair.

Garage boss Pilkington went along with the deception in providing a signed statement claiming that his garage had been servicing the vehicle purported to belong to Craig and provided an invoice to that effect. His laptop was seized and examined and the invoice was shown to be backdated.

The tissue of lies was only uncovered after Craig was acquitted of the no insurance charge. That will now be reviewed.

Craig, of Griffin Close, Burnley, and Pilkington (41) of Straits Lane, Burnley, both admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice earlier this week, with Craig also admitting to perjury, and were sentenced at Preston Crown Court.

Craig was given 10 weeks in prison for his involvement in the conspiracy and Pilkington was fined £1,000. In the event he fails to pay this in three months then he will serve 28 days in prison in default.

PC Jordan Bruce, of Burnley Police, said: “This was an elaborate but ultimately amateurish attempt by these two men to construct a tissue of lies to try to fool the courts.

“Today’s sentence shows that lying to the court will not be tolerated and that those who do it will be punished appropriately.”

In summing up His Honour commented that the attempt by Craig to deceive the courts was over a considerable amount of time and the original offence was relatively serious in terms of Road Traffic law.

He commented that while Pilkington’s involvement was more short lived, he had still been instrumental in the conspiracy. He commented that an immediate custodial sentence was the only appropriate option for Craig.