Number’s up for a fuel fraudster

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A WOMAN who altered the number plate on her car to avoid paying for fuel, was also driving while disqualified, magistrates heard.

Melanie Margaret Trueman, 38, was given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months for what magistrates described as a deliberate and pre-planned act. She must also comply with a 12-month supervision order and an alcohol treatment requirement.

Trueman, of Grinlow Road, Harpur Hill, admitted fraud by false representation, driving while disqualified and without insurance following the incident on October 15.

John Cooper, prosecuting, said Trueman put £20 worth of fuel in her car at Morrisons in Buxton. An off-duty police officer spotted that the number plate had been doctored to make the H at the beginning of the registration look like an A.

He alerted staff after Trueman left the petrol station, having agreed to pay within 24 hours.

She had provided staff with a false name and a former address. When traced it was found that Trueman was also disqualified from driving and had no insurance.

James Riley, defending, said it had been an extremely unsophisticated attempt to obtain fuel at her local petrol station where she was known. He said a marker pen had been used to alter the registration plate.

“This has been a period of absolute chaos,” said Mr Riley.

“She has been subject to eviction proceedings which have now gone through.

“Her own daughter has recently given birth and there are issues in relation to her circumstances and domestic situation which has been playing on the mind of Mrs Trueman and she tried to deal with those matters by using alcohol as a crutch and ultimately alcohol led to drug use.”

He said his client had demonstrated a willingness to deal with her issues.