A CASH-STRAPPED driving instructor who ran up credit card debts totalling more than £42,000 has been given a suspended prison sentence for deception offences.
Christopher Meredith, 37, of Thirlmere Avenue, Elland, used a friend’s details to take out seven credit cards, but got into financial difficulties after initially making regular payments.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that Meredith had used the cards effectively to ‘run his life’, but his conscience got the better of him and he voluntarily owned up to the credit card companies.
Although some of the companies were happy with repayment arrangements, one bank contacted the police and Meredith confessed to what he had done.
In January Meredith pleaded guilty at Halifax Magistrates Court to six offences of deception, covering a period between February 2006 and July 2008, and yesterday Recorder Paul Sloan QC sentenced him to 35 weeks in prison suspended for a year.
As part of the order Meredith will also be supervised for a year and must do 150 hours unpaid work for the community.
Barrister Charlotte Eastwood, for Meredith, stressed that the money had not been spent on luxuries and the offences were committed at a time when her client was under considerable financial pressure.
She said Meredith and his family now faced having their home repossessed and he could be made bankrupt.
Recorder Sloan accepted that the money had been used to pay daily expenses and support a failing business.
He said Meredith's early guilty pleas meant he could impose a less severe penalty.
“'These offences, given the period of time involved, given the amount involved and given the level of persistence involved, are in my view so serious that only a sentence of imprisonment can be justified,” Recorder Sloan told Meredith.
“'However I propose to suspend that sentence in the particular circumstances of your case”.