A FRAUDSTER has been handed a three year jail sentence in his absence for his part in what was Britain's biggest ‘cash for crash’ scam.

But Alan Wright will not spend any further time behind bars because of the period he already served in custody over the long running case.

Leeds Crown Court heard today ( August 12) that the 50-year-old of Front Street, Burnhope, County Durham, was not in court for sentence as he had been admitted to hospital.

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Oscar del Fabbro, representing Wright, said those instructing him had received a phone call around 8am to say Wright was in hospital.

“He suffers from chronic diabetes and over the weekend was unwell," he added. "It was through it was his blood sugar levels but this morning he has been admitted because it is perceived he may have suffered a heart attack.”

A check with the hospital confirmed he was in the accident and emergency department.

Wright had already served almost 19 months in prison, the equivalent of a 38 month sentence, over the £3m scam before an appeal was granted against the last March's original Newcastle Crown Court conviction.

Wright was due to face a retrial, but last month pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud.

Mr del Fabbro said it was possible to sentence him in his absence for four offences “if he did not face the prospect of having to go back for any further sentence.”

Judge Batty agreed and said: “He has been through a lot.”

He said he had a chance to consider Wright’s position, and had had the proceedings hanging over his head for a long period of time.

Judge Batty said Wright was clearly a man of ill health.

He said: “In all the circumstances the sentence will be three years.”

The first charge involved making false injury claim to Equity Red Star Insurance following a collision involving a Mercedes on May 18, 2008.

He was said in the second fraud to have made representations to NFU that he suffered personal injury and financial loss in a genuine motor collision on October 16, 2008.

The third fraud involved representation to Equity Red Star Insurance that there had been a crash on February 17, 2009.

The fourth offence was making false representation to Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company regarding a smash on April 5, 2009.