A DRIVER who stuck false number plates on his car in an attempt to avoid being stopped by police for having no insurance, filled up his tank and drove off from a Cricklade filling station, magistrates heard.

Neil Ash, was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for a year after pleading guilty to using false plates on his Freelander, two charges of bilking, three of having no insurance and three of having no MOT.

Swindon magistrates heard Ash, of London Road, Poulton, first used the fake registration plates at Calcutt Services on January 11, when he took £40 of fuel and then made off. He did the same thing at a service station in Swindon on Monday when he put £30 in the tank.

Mark Glendenning, defending, told the hearing yesterday the false registration number was the same as a similar black Freelander in the same village and Ash had carried out the fraud because he was desperate.

“He could not afford the insurance so he has unfortunately used that number as a way of getting through cameras. It comes up as insured.”

The 34-year-old had been working as a fencer, but work had dried up before Christmas and since then had no money for the insurance on the car.

Mrs Glendenning accepted Ash had previous convictions but said the last was in 2014. Previously Ash had suffered an alcohol problem but he had addressed that successfully.

However he had got into a relationship since then and also developed a drug habit which he was trying to deal with. But a missed appointment meant he could not have his script.

As well as the ban, the bench imposed a 12-month community order with a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement. Ash was also ordered to pay a total of £70 compensation with £85 costs and another £85 towards victim services.