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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Rugby league star conned Carlisle garage

International rugby league star Michael Ratu has been given a suspended prison sentence for conning a Carlisle car dealer into selling him a luxury vehicle on hire purchase.

Michael Ratu photo
Michael Ratu

The 24-year-old Fijian gave false information to the city garage in order to get a loan to buy a £34,000 Audi Q7.

But in fact, the city’s crown court heard, he knew he had no hope of paying the monthly instalments.

And the car was never seen again.

Prosecutor Dick Binstead told the court Ratu paid a £500 deposit on the car in 2009, while another £3,000 was paid by his criminal associates.

He had £15,000 gambling debts at the time, and the people to whom he owed the money put him under pressure to lie to secure the loan, he said.

They then took possession of the car and left him to face the music.

Ratu, whose address was listed as Maud Street, Rochdale, has played centre for Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR but is currently looking for another club after suffering a serious injury.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud and was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 60 hours of unpaid community work.

The judge, Recorder Harry Narayan, told him: “It is sad to see a young man with his whole career ahead of him now having to admit such a serious offence.”

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