A TEENAGER who fell victim to an internet scam, has been fined just £20 for driving without insurance.
Lewis Richards told the court he had previously purchased motor insurance for his Ford Focus from a company he found on classified ads website Gumtree.
So he was horrified to be pulled over by police, on Willow Way in Chelmsley Wood on July 2, for driving without insurance.
Phillip Haycock, defending at Solihull Magistrates Court, said: “Mr Richards had bought insurance through Gumtree.”
“There was an advertisement for motor insurance from Ash Carz. Payment was made into the appropriate account... and a document was set purporting to be from Alliance.
“It was only when he was stopped and police checked, that he found it was false.”
The 19-year-old, of Holliers Grove, Kingshurst, pleaded guilty to the charge of driving without insurance but applied for a special measures hearing, held last week, to explain he had been the victim of a scam.
But Richards and mum Richenda have been forced to prove his innocence themselves after the teen was denied legal aid because the case was deemed ‘not complex enough.’
“We’ve had to do everything ourselves,” said Mrs Richards, aged 38. “I was worried he would lose his licence.
“I’ve been trying to contact (the company) but there was just a mobile number and a name. Now when you call, it says the line is not recognised.
“It’s just frustrating, you put your trust in someone... They might have been doing it to other people too.
“He’s not a person that gets into trouble and so even going to court is a stressful thing.
“I’m just glad it’s all over and done with. We’ll definitely be more careful with companies in the future.”
On December 5, Richards was given a £20 fine and told to pay a £15 victim surcharge. His licence was not endorsed.