A police officer who splashed out on luxury holidays and a BMW car while lying about her income, expenditure and assets in a bid to pay less of her debts has been jailed for eight months.
Tracy Taylor of Irthington near Carlisle was working for Cumbria Police when she made false declarations while setting up an Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA) - an arrangement with creditors to pay all or part of your debts.
The 43-year-old splashed out £9,000 in cash on a BMW Z3 car and several thousand pounds on a luxury two week holiday to Italy after declaring her husband Paul and her only had a disposable income of £160 a month.
She told the insolvency practitioner when applying for an Independent Voluntary Agreement that they were spending £595 on fuel and £595 on childcare each month.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how her childcare fees were actually £14.40 which her employer, Cumbria Constabulary, were paying leaving her with a bill of zero.
Andrew Walker, prosecuting, told the court how Taylor was only driving eight miles a day to work and back and not the 40 miles a day which she declared.
Mr Walker added that Taylor was claiming her car insurance was £187 a month when direct debit showed it was just £90.
She also told them she paid monthly water bills or £45 which were actually £20 a month.
Taylor failed to declare a savings plan she had which contained £1829 and her ICA bank account with a balance of £316.
She did not declare that she had rented out her home, bringing in an extra £750 a month, totalling £5250, while they were house sitting for a neighbour and living rent free.
After making false declarations, Taylor was asked to pay back £20,000 of the £64,000 debt she had via the IVA. After considering her finances, £44,000 was written off by creditors.
Mr Walker said: "It's bound to have had an effect on the scope of the IVA or whether an IVA would have been agreed at all."
Taylor and her husband, who is a chef, got into debt after three of her husband's businesses, which made puddings, failed.
Mr Walker told the court that the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence towards her husband Paul Taylor and the charges against him were dropped.
Her crimes came to light after an investigation by Cumbria Police and she was arrested and charged.
Taylor admitted two counts of making a false representation and one count of fraud at a previous hearing.
Mark Aldrid, defending, said: "They were the victims of fraud from a fraudster. He defrauded them of £10,000.
"There was an employee dispute which resulted in them losing more money, thousands of pounds.
"Mrs Taylor was failing at work.
"Medical records showed the Taylor's were trying for a another child and failing for medical reasons.
"Medical records also show a history of depression.
"It was fear of failing to make the payments with the IVA that led her to make these serious errors of judgement.
"In her mind she had to make the payments of the IVA. She tried to ensure the monthly payment was one she could manage she went about this entirely the wrong way.
"She has made repayments totally £5000 and she is in touch with the IVA.
"She went about it completely the wrong way and has lost everything. She has lost her good character, she has brought shame on her family, she has been dismissed from her employment."
"It was your responsibility to provide accurate information.
"Had the creditors and the insolvency practitioner known the actual amount it's possible an IVA would not have been entered into and certainly it would have been a much higher monthly figure and more would have been repaid.
"You were a serving police officer it's not surprise that the Insolvency practitioner and the creditors accepted your forgery in this case. They trusted you.
"Your life as a police officer is over. You were dismissed from the service yesterday at the disciplinary hearing."
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Violent crime in Cumbria has risen sharply over the last year according to the latest figures published today.
Overall crime also went up.
However Cumbria Police says that over the last five years crime has fallen and that Cumbria remains one of the lowest areas for crime in the whole country.
Tim Backshall has been looking at the latest figures:
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Crime in Cumbria has risen by 4% over the last year, according to figures released this morning
But the county's Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes claims that while this is disappointing, there has been a 15% drop in antisocial behaviour in the same period.
He says that the longterm trend in crime is also down, with overall crime falling by 10.8% and anti-social behaviour falling by 45.6% over the last five years.
The National Farmers Union is asking farmers to be vigilant after nearly £50,000 worth of sheep were stolen from a Cumbrian farm.
Twenty-six pedigree Swaledale breeding sheep were taken from an eight acre field at Long Marton near Appleby. It's thought the thieves must have experience rounding up livestock.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner is asking victims and witnesses to help improve services for their counterparts in the future.
Richard Rhodes has invited them to take part in a Consultation Group that has been established to ensure that victims and witnesses of crime and antisocial behaviour have a voice.
It is hoped the consultation process will mean that services available to those affected by crime are enhanced.
“Some of the work that the Victim Services Consultation Group will be involved in will include developing and auditing services and being consulted about future initiatives. I am committed to improving the experience of victims.”
Cumbria Police say the increase last year in the number of reported rapes in the county is down to more victims coming forward:
The number of rapes recorded in Cumbria increased by 23 in the year 2013/14, compared to 2012/13.
The number of prosecutions and convictions also went up between 2012 and 2013, but the figure remains low:
- Recorded rapes in 2012/2013 - 65 adults, 38 children
- Recorded rapes in 2013/2014 - 80 adults, 46 children
- Prosecutions for rape in 2012 - 9
- Prosecutions for rape in 2013 - 24
- Convictions for rape in 2012 - 3
- Convictions for rape in 2013 - 6