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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Loan scam cricketer spared jail
Wayne Larkins and Deborah Lines leaving Taunton Crown Court
Wayne Larkins apologised outside Taunton Crown Court
The former England cricketer Wayne Larkins has been spared jail for his part in a 155,000 property scam.

He and his partner Deborah Lines illegally obtained a mortgage to buy a holiday home in France.

Taunton Crown Court gave the pair a 12 month sentence suspended for two years and ordered them to pay back 54,000.

Judge Graham Hume Jones said: "Whatever explanation you gave the fact is you were dishonest. Both of you were in this together."

The jury heard Lines' father, Robert Adams, offered the couple a half share in his home in Taunton.

But Ms Lines forged his signature on the title deeds to pretend that she and Mr Larkins owned the property and used that as security for the loan.

As a result of your dishonest dealings an elderly man has been caused a great deal of distress
Judge Graham Hume Jones

The couple, who live in Exhall, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, then successfully applied for a 155,000 mortgage secured against the value of Mr Adams' home.

They gave the pensioner the 60,000 they owed him but spent a further 91,000 on buying a retirement home in France.

Lines pleaded guilty to five deception charges and Larkins to three which were committed in May 2005 and related to forging documents and obtaining money by deception.

The judge said: "As a result of your dishonest dealings an elderly man has been caused a great deal of distress and the house he has lived in for a number of years has been put on the line."

The scam came to light when Mr Adams, 78, discovered his mortgage had been changed and his name had been removed from the title deeds in 2005.

Larkins said: "Of course we're very sorry. It wasn't intentional."

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