Fraud trial four guilty

FOUR Hartlepool men are facing jail after a lengthy £100,000 council fraud case.

Michael Skirving, 50, and business friends Martin Dougherty, 45, and James Burns, 43, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud Darlington Borough Council after a five-week trial at Teesside crown Court.

Skirving, of Grange Road, Hartlepool, got Dougherty, of Westbrook Avenue, Hartlepool, and Burns, of Wansbeck Gardens, Hartlepool, to submit bogus invoices for the hire of cherry-pickers and labour in connection with asbestos removal contracts.

A fourth man, Graeme Storey, 38, of Hart Lane, Hartlepool, was found guilty of admitting to pervert the course of justice after he lied to police to try to cover up the fraud.

They were all bailed and will be sentenced in just over three weeks.