A MAN has admitted running a £40,000 MOT scam at a council-run vehicle testing station.

Phillip Aris, of Tulbrook Stones, Middleton Cheney, appeared at Oxford Crown Court yesterday facing one count of fraud by false representation.

The 46-year old pleaded guilty to the scam and dishonestly abusing his position as an MOT tester to cause a loss to South Northamptonshire and Cherwell District councils.

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The scam was operated at the Thorpe Lane Depot in Banbury between June 2014 and January 2018.

Cherwell District Council runs the depot to provide MOT testing for local residents, taxis and businesses, as well as its own vehicle fleet.

Prosecutors said that the figure lost by the councils was in the region of £40,000, though the defence team said it was closer to £35,000.

The Oxford Times:

It was also claimed at the hearing that Aris had performed about 700 tests for customers and not paid the money owed for those tests to the councils.

His defence team argued that while the councils had lost money Aris had not gained any financial advantage as a result of the scam.

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Presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC agreed to adjourn his sentencing so that a basis of plea could be agreed by both team and set a provisional sentencing date of Thursday, June 6.

If no compromise can be reached then a Newton hearing - to decide the factual basis of his guilty plea - will be held at the same court on a date to be confirmed.

Before Aris was released on bail to await his sentencing Judge Pringle warned him that a jail term was a ‘real option’ in the case but noted that Aris did not have any previous convictions.

A pre-sentence report was also ordered to explore all sentencing options.