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Royal Mail scam saw car parts dealer claim free postage
A CAR parts dealer exploited a credit scheme operated by the Royal Mail to claim £16,486 worth of free postage over a period of more than three years.
Toby Peters admitted dishonestly obtaining services from the Royal Mail by virtue of a pre-paid online business account he set up.
The 40-year-old, who generated false sales orders for goods from his firm VW Teesside in order to take advantage of the account, wrongly tried to pin the blame on an innocent female member of staff.
Peters, of Springfield Avenue, Brotton, east Cleveland, said he had nothing to do with preparing mail from his firm for posting and had nothing to do with the scam.
But investigators from Royal Mail saw through his story and exonerated the female employee following an investigation..
Barry Robson, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said Peters' had effectively had a “free run” on the Royal Mail, even though no money was directly paid to him.
He was arrested on September 17 last year on suspicion of fraud and computer equipment and posting books seized from him.
The offending occurred between July 10 2009 and September 13 2012.
Alex Bousfield, mitigating, said Peters, a married father-of-two, had a limited income and his business had only made a small profit of £7,500 last year.
He said: “He has not been paid money from this fraud, he was avoiding paying it out.
“It will be quite an onerous task for him to repay this money back, but he is intent on doing so.”
Judge Peter Armstrong gave Peters a six month jail sentence, suspended for two years. He also said he should make a contribution of £2,400 towards the Royal Mail's costs of investigating the case which stood at £3,250. This would be paid at the amount of £100 a month.
Proceeds of crime proceedings will also be brought by the Crown against the defendant.
Judge Armstrong told Peters: “Effectively what you were doing was keeping the business going and keeping down the overheads at someone else's expense.”