A bungling fraudster’s insurance scam went up in smoke - after he torched his crashed car before reporting it stolen to police.
Anthony Patterson careered into a metal fence after losing control of his Grand Cherokee Jeep in rain-soaked conditions, then tried to ‘dispose of the evidence’ by setting the vehicle alight.
The car was found burnt out a mile awayGlenda Beck
The 32-year-old - who had only owned the car for three weeks - reported it stolen to cops and received a £1,175 pay-out from his insurers.
Police found bumpers and a registration plate belonging to the vehicle strewn at the crash scene in Blackett Street, Jarrow, but Patterson insisted he had not been behind the wheel.
But a police probe uncovered CCTV footage of Patterson at a service station in the car just 45 minutes before the shunt.
When interviewed by police, he admitted he had ‘panicked’ following the crash and reported the vehicle stolen to hide the truth.
Patterson admitted fraud by false representation when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
He was hit with a court fine and must fork out over £1,000 to pay back his insurance company.
The court heard he had been driving at 40mph in a 30mph zone when he overtook a slow-moving vehicle in front before losing control at the wheel in slippy conditions and hitting a fence.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “On July 13 of last year, Patterson reported his car stole to police.
“Subsequent inquiries revealed this to be a false allegation.
“On July 11, officers attended reports of an abandoned motor vehicle in Blackett Street.
“They found a car bumper on the side of the road and a vehicle registration plate.
“The car was found burnt out a mile way.
“Patterson was identified as the registered keeper and when he was told the circumstances of how the vehicle was found he reported it stolen.
“Further inquiries revealed Patterson had been in the car at a service station 45 minutes prior to the crash.”
Michelle Stonley, defending, said Patterson made the false claim as he didn’t want to get the ‘blame’ for the damage caused to the car.
She said: “He can’t give an explanation for why he didn’t report the accident.
“He just panicked. He didn’t want to get the blame for causing the damage to the car.
“He is 32 and has no previous convictions and is extremely remorseful for his actions.”
Yvonne Cracknell, chair of the magistrates, said: “The offence is aggravated by the fact you tried to dispose of the evidence.”
Patterson, of Saltwell Road, Gateshead, was fined £80 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
He must also pay compensation of £1,175 to the defrauded insurance firm - making for a total court bill of £1,360.