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A man who sold a house after forging certificates for planning permission for works he had carried out but for which planning permission had not been obtained was recently sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
The man had applied on three occasions for planning permission to carry out the alterations. When the local council raised reservations, however, he did not pursue the applications but simply proceeded with the works.
He later sold the house to an elderly couple. Their solicitor had asked to see the relevant planning certificates, so the man simply forged the appropriate certificates and the sale went ahead. When the couple wished to sell the property themselves, the fraud was discovered. Their sale fell through and they were required to spend £11,000 to carry out remedial works.
The man initially denied that he had forged the certificates, but later admitted that he had and pleaded guilty to fraud.
Providing false or misleading information in circumstances such as these is an offence. As well as the right to restitution under civil law, criminal law is engaged. In this case, an immediate custodial sentence was considered appropriate.