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Hoxne man who obtained more than £22,000 by selling machinery after defaulting on payments sentenced

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A Hoxne man who obtained more than £22,000 by a selling agricultural machinery after defaulting on payments to a finance company has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Andrew Stulpa, 53, had paid just over half the value of the equipment when he found a buyer on eBay, Ipswich Crown Court heard last Thursday.

While the new owner arranged for payment of £22,807 to Stulpa, officials from BNP Paribas who had provided finance for the original purchase were trying to track Stulpa down.

The deal to sell the machinery took place in March 2012 at Stowmarket with Stulpa telling buyer Stephen Harrup “buyer beware”, said prosecutor Juliet Donovan, but it took some time to then locate Stulpa who uses a number of aliases.

Stulpa, of Nuttery Vale, Hoxne, near Eye, had at the time been living at Church Road, Westhorpe.

Mr Harrup only became aware that there was a problem when bailiffs arrived and he was told that £9,250 remained outstanding to BNP Paribas as Stulpa had failed to keep up with all the 60 monthly payments to the company.

Miss Donovan said the incident had caused Mr Harrup considerable problems and resulted in him incurring legal fees of £720 when he obtained advice. He had also had to pay BNP Paribas the outstanding finance charges to enable him to keep the machinery.

Miss Donovan told the court: “It has been a very tough ordeal for Stephen Harrup and his family.”

In mitigation, Matthew McNiff said the decision to sell the machinery despite not havingcompleted repayments to the finance company had been a “moment of stupidity.”

Mr McNiff said the venture had ben “doomed to detection and to fail” because Stulpa had other finance agreements with BNP Paribas which provided contact details for him.

The use of an alternative name by Stulpa was not suspicious, said Mr McNiff. He had been adopted and while Stulpa was his natural name, he also used his adopted name of MacCullum.

Sentencing him, Mr Recorder David Pugh told Stulpa: “The result of you acting fraudulently is that the victim who purchased this farm machinery had a traumatic period when he thought he may lose the machinery. He lost income and contracts.”

Stulpa, who pleaded guilty to fraud, was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work.

In addition he must pay £9,970 compensation to Mr Harrup and £340 towards the cost of the prosecution.

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