Three people have been convicted of mortgage fraud in the Forest of Dean following a police investigation.
The investigation began in November 2008 when a property in Central Lydbrook was raided in an operation led by Gloucestershire County Council Funded Officer PC Duncan Sleeman.
Officers acting on intelligence uncovered a large number of cannabis plants and seven people were subsequently arrested.
Evidential reasons meant that no one was ever charged with offences relating to the cannabis plants however, three people were charged with conspiracy to obtain a mortgage by deception at the end of a long financial inquiry.
The three, 31-year-old Louise Butler, from Barry, South Wales, 39-year-old Mark Fowles, from Northfield, Birmingham, and 39-year-old John Cope, from Anvil Street, Bristol, have now all pleaded guilty to the offence.
At Gloucester Crown Court on 6 April they were sentenced to a 12 month Community Order with 150 hrs unpaid work in the case of Cope, a 10 month prison term suspended for 12 months and 200 hours unpaid work in the case of Fowles and a 10 month prison sentence suspended for 12 months as well as a 12 month supervision order in the case of Butler.
The basis of the fraud charge was that Butler and Fowles, in an effort to avoid taxation costs, approached Cope and offered him £5000 to allow them to use his personal details when making the application for a mortgage. He agreed and Butler then used her position as a financial advisor to process the relevant papers through the mortgage lender. The repayments were made by Fowles via bank accounts held by Cope to hide the true origin of the funds.
Chief Inspector Phil Haynes, who oversees policing in the Forest of Dean, said: “This investigation started out to be a relatively straight forward drugs operation and it was very effectively dealt with by the Safer Community Team and PC Sleeman