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  1. ITV Report

Cumbrian builder spared prison for Storm Desmond flood fraud

His evidence was deemed "vague, evasive and unreliable" Photo: ITV Border

A builder who committed fraud by lying about his home being flooded during Storm Desmond has been spared immediate prison.

Mark Roland Postlethwaite, 55, applied to South Lakeland District Council for £5,000 grant funding in the wake of the devastating December 2015 deluge.

This financial relief was only available to flood victims.

Postlethwaite submitted two invoices - one in the name of his own construction company and a second from what he described as an independent contractor.

But council officers became suspicious because both invoices were identical, and appeared to have been "completely cut and pasted".

A probe was launched and no evidence was found that his Foulshaw Cottages home at Levens, near Kendal, had been flooded as he had claimed.

Neighbours also confirmed there was no flooding at their properties.

Postlethwaite - a married father-of-four - denied two fraud charges but was convicted on both counts by magistrates in July.

His evidence was deemed "vague, evasive and unreliable".

Postlethwaite was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court today, when a 12-month prison term was suspended for two years by Recorder Philip Curran.

Postlethwaite must complete 250 hours' unpaid work, and pay £1,458.08 costs.

"You have escaped custody by the skin of your teeth," Recorder Curran told him, "and you should reflect long and hard before you ever think of taking any money from the local authority - or anyone else."