A DISABLED woman and her mother were left in dire financial straits after buying a car off a Clitheroe man which was still subject to finance.

Blackburn magistrates heard the car was reclaimed by the finance company and the victim was left more than £2,000 out of pocket and unable to drive her mother to her three times a week kidney dialysis appointments.

Wesleigh Cyril Russell, 23, of George Street, Clitheroe, was convicted after trial of fraud by false representation. He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, made subject to a curfew between 11 pm and 8 am for six weeks and ordered to pay £2,215 compensation and £300 costs.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Tracey Whitmore had seen the car advertised on Gumtree and Russell had offered to take it round so she could have a test drive.

It became obvious some work was needed and they agreed a price of £2,000.

"He said the log book had not come back from the DVLA but gave her a receipt for the £2,000 she handed over," said Miss Allan. "Miss Whitmore had been given the money by her elderly mother."

The victim went to the post office to tax the car and change it over to the disabled scheme and then spent £815 for work to be done on the car.

"She received a letter from the DVLA asking for a photograph of the chasis and she then received a letter from a finance company saying they were the legal owners of the car which they eventually recovered," said Miss Allan. "The finance company had paid back £600."

She said Miss Whitmore needed the car because of her disability and her mother had provided the money, most of her life savings, so she could be taken for dialysis and other medical appointments.

"The car was a vital lifeline for both of them," said Miss Allan.

In a victim impact statement Miss Whitmore said she felt incredibly guilty that the majority of her mother's savings had disappeared and they didn't have a car.

She said she couldn't work because of her disability and just about managed to keep her head above water by careful management of her finances.

Waseem Chowdhary, defending, said his client accepted the verdict of the trial court and that he would have to pay compensation.

"He works as a chef and is the breadwinner for his family and an immediate custodial sentence would have a devastating impact," said Mr Chowdhary.