A SOUTH Yorkshire couple conned £140,000 out of a bank to buy a motor home which did not exist, a court heard.
Michael Rowe, aged 47, and 41-year-old Alison Rowe were spared jail for what a judge called a ‘substantial piece of dishonesty’.
The Rowes ran luxury vehicle dealer RS Motorhomes in Goldthorpe, near Barnsley, and approached Barclays for a loan to be advanced against a £200,000 Mercedes motor home they claimed was theirs.
Barclays gave them a £140,000 loan with repayments due over three years, which should have left the bank with a £22,000 profit.
But the couple had in fact ordered a chassis which would have formed the basis of the motor home yet to be built. They ordered it on credit after their business hit financial trouble.
The chassis was delivered to a West Yorkshire firm and passed to another company before it reached the Rowes, of Claybank Farm, Everton, near Doncaster.
In September 2009, they sold it for about £150,000, although they had no legal right to.
When loan repayments were not met in 2010, Barclays contacted the West Yorkshire firm and found it had ceased trading and no record could be found of the chassis’s registration number.
Ian Goldsack, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said: “The fraud was their representation the vehicle existed and was owned by them, neither of which was right.”
The Rowes admitted fraud after Barclays lost £87,590 on the deal.
Sentencing, Mr Recorder Henry Prosser told the couple: “Although it was a dishonest transaction at the outset I accept you both intended to repay the money.”
They were each given a 12-month jail term suspended for 18 months.
Michael Rowe was also handed 100 hours of unpaid work, while Alison Rowe given a 12-month supervision order.