A CAR sale con man who tampered with the mileage on vehicles he sold to unsuspecting customers has been spared jail.
Kenneth Wood altered vehicle odometers to make it appear they had up to 60,000 fewer miles on the clock.
The 41-year-old changed the log books and service histories and used forged garage logo stamps to give the fake documentation authenticity.
At Newcastle Crown Court Wood, of Marville East, Ryhope, admitted tampering with 13 cars.
The court heard he made up to £1,200 profit on each vehicle, which he claims was spent trying to pay off a loan shark he owed money to.
While making cash through selling cars, Wood continued to claim benefits and failed to declare his extra income to the authorities.
Wood admitted dishonest representation to obtain benefit and three offences of unfair commercial practice.
He asked for a further 10 offences of unfair commercial practice to be taken into consideration.
The offences he pleaded guilty to were dated between January and September last year.
Prosecutor Ros Scott Bell told the court: “In interview, he admitted arranging for cars’ mileage to be clocked. He said ‘hands up, they have had higher miles and I have had the miles taken off’.
“He said he had the cars clocked and then had them re-MOT’d. He said he had some stamps made up and stamped the books himself.
“He confirmed the reason he resorted to clocking cars was because of alleged threats from a loan shark he owed money to.”
Judge Penny Moreland sentenced Wood to 16 months behind bars, suspended for two years.
The judge told him: “The offences cross the custody threshold but taking into account your full admissions, pleas of guilty and everything I have read about you the appropriate sentence can be suspended.”
Jamie Adams, defending, said Wood borrowed about £8,000 from loan sharks five years ago and is still struggling to pay it off due to extortionate interest rates.
Mr Adams said: “He declares he has lived in fear over a considerable period of time because of that.
“None of the profit was ever profit he was able to enjoy.
“There is nothing to show for the frauds he was carrying out.”
Mr Adams said Wood, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, has a number of health problems.