A ‘GULLIBLE fool’ who agreed to have the £57,000 proceeds from a car fraud paid into his bank account has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Frederick Storey pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing £57,000 knowing or suspecting it was the proceeds of crime and transferring £25,000 of criminal property.

Storey, aged 63, who lives on a narrowboat at Barton Cruisers, Bidford, was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

He had been charged with his son Simon Springthorpe, 32, of Wolston, and James Bedford, 37, of Rugby.

They had both denied entering into money laundering arrangements for the transfer of £57,000 into Storey’s account – and the case against them was thrown out part-way through their trial in January.

The court heard that Target Cars was a second-hand dealership based in Holland with a £25 million annual turnover, buying and selling vehicles over the internet. In May 2009 Target’s company director was defrauded into paying £57,000 for a Hummer and a Chrysler limousine. Target was instructed to make the payment to a Lloyds TSB account held by Storey, trading as Elite Carpet Cleaning, and did so – but never received the two vehicles.

Trevor Berriman, defending, said: “He entered his plea on the basis that anyone would know that an offer of £2,000 for the use of his bank account was dishonest. He was a gullible fool.”