A FATHER-OF-TWO who illegally sold a car he didn’t own intended to defraud the company which owned the vehicle, a court heard.

Burnley Magistrates Court was told how Andrew Long sold a Volkswagen Golf which his partner Rachel Coxon had just taken out a hire-purchase agreement on.

Long, of Burnley Road, Bacup, and previously of Great Harwood, was not in attendance for the trial, after his solicitor, Simon Farnsworth, said his client was unfit to attended due to psychological issues bought on by an incident with police in August.

The incident, at a Texaco service station in Rossendale Road, Burnley, saw Long mistakenly identified for a dangerous offender when police swooped on his vehicle and pulled him out of it.

He was then restrained for 45 minutes.

This, said Mr Farnsworth, led to severe sleep deprivation and anxiety for his client.

The argument that Long was unfit to attend court was backed up by letter from a doctor treating Long. 

But the appeal was rejected by magistrates who ruled that court delays are ‘scandalous’ and the trial proceeded in his absence.

The court heard how in January 2015 Ms Coxon had agreed to take out a finance agreement in her name for Long, who due to a bad credit profile was not eligible for finance.

The pair went to Concept Car Credit in Radcliffe and agreed a deal on the car. They were told they would not be the owners of the car until the last finance payment had been made. But just days after bringing the car home, it was advertised online for sale.

Prosecuting Phillipa White said: “A man answered the advert and agreed a part-exchange and cash deal on the vehicle.

“But shortly after he became aware that there was a finance deal on the car. He then contacted Mr Long to undo the deal.”

The buyer of the car, Paul Egan, had agreed a deal with Long to part-exchange his own car with him alongside a payment of £2,250.

Ms White said: “When the buyer contacted Mr Long to undo the deal, the defendant agreed and gave him his car back – but never the cash."

“Within days of bringing the car home, it was advertised online. This adds weight to the allegation that he intended to defraud the company.”

Long was found guilty in his absence of two counts of theft and one count of fraud by false representation. A second theft charge relates to a £7,500 BMW belonging to Ms Coxon.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and he will be sentenced later.