Four men accused of fiddling car loans have been cleared after the alleged victims told a jury they didn't regard the claimed frauds as serious.
Asa Dobbing, his brother Aidan Dobbing, their father Thomas Dobbing, and Leslie Brooke were alleged to have made a series fraudulent loan applications for Audi, Range Rover, Mercedes Benz, and BMW cars.
All of the cars passed through Aspect Garage at Toll Bar, Ryhope, which was owned by Asa Dobbing, and at which Aidan Dobbing worked as a salesman.
The men filled in forms to say a deposit had been paid against a car when it had not been paid, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Personal loans were taken out on cars which were later sold on.
Two finance company representatives told a jury that because all the loans had been paid, their employers didn't regard the misrepresentation of deposits as serious.
The representatives said the loan applicant shouldn't sell the car to someone else, but that wasn't a problem provided the loan was repaid.
Prosecutor Christopher Rose told the court: "In the light of the evidence given, and in the light of the position of two of the defendants, the Crown has further reviewed this case.
"It has been decided it would not be in the public interest to continue with this prosecution.
"Accordingly, we offer no evidence against the four defendants."
Ordering not guilty verdicts in respect of all defendants, Judge Howard Crowson told the jury: "This is an unusual situation.
"The evidence we have heard suggests this may have been more of a civil dispute than a criminal matter.
"I am sure the Crown has taken the right decision to discontinue this case."
Asa Dobbing, 38, of Ryhope Grange Court, Grangetown, Sunderland, denied one charge of converting criminal property, and five charges of fraud.
Aidan Dobbing, 33, of Ravelston Close, Doxford Park, Sunderland, denied seven charges of fraud.
Thomas Dobbing, 66, of Weldon Avenue, Grangetown, Sunderland, denied five charges of fraud.
Leslie Brooke, 69, of Bowbank Close, Elstob Farm, Sunderland, denied three charges of fraud.
Two further defendants pleaded guilty to fraud before the trial started.
Asa Dobbing's partner, Jane Brooke, 41, of Ryhope Grange Court Grangetown, Sunderland, admitted two charges of fraud.
Iain Potts, 30, of Cavendish Place, New Silksworth, admitted two charges of fraud.
Judge Crowson allowed their guilty pleas to be vacated following legal submissions.
Not guilty verdicts were entered to all charges faced by Brooke and Potts.
The offences were alleged to have taken place between 2010 and 2015.
Between 2012 and 2014, Asa and Aidan Dobbing used Aspect Garage as a base for trafficking cocaine from the south of England to Wearside.
Following a separate trial last year, Asa and Aidan Dobbing were each jailed for 14 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Potts was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for his part in the drugs conspiracy.
A hearing on a date to be fixed will determine if Asa or Aidan Dobbing has any assets which can be seized as the proceeds of crime.