Fenland fraudsters claimed nuptials were called off to recover �100 wedding dress deposit, court told

A COUPLE who hatched a plan to recover a �100 wedding dress deposit by falsely claiming the nuptials had been called off have admitted a charge of fraud.

Former soldier Mark Haile and his wife Melissa persuaded the Young Romantics store in Wisbech to give them a credit note when the dress order was cancelled.

The wedding dress had been ordered by Melissa Haile’s sister, but the deposit had been paid by the Hailes, their solicitor explained to Fenland magistrates.

James Macwhirter said: “There was a family fallout and the Hailes wanted to recover the money they had lent.”

Mark Haile, 34, and Melissa Haile, 27, both of Mount Pleasant Road, Wisbech, admitted committing fraud on October 26 last year.

Mark Haile further admitted stealing televisions from Tesco and Asda in Wisbech and stealing three tops from Peacocks.

Prosecuting, Fred Sagoe said the wedding dress was ordered on October 15 but 11 days letter a call was received at Young Romantics, claiming the wedding was off and asking for the �100 deposit to be returned.

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The shop was told that the bride’s fianc� would collect the credit note, but Mark Haile picked up the note and forged the fianc�’s signature.

Two hours later, Melissa Haile arrived at the shop and selected goods worth �98.50, paid for by using the credit note.

Mr Macwhirter said: “Clearly there was some planning, but it is hardly the crime of the century.”

Mark Haile was medically discharged from the army after nearly nine years service, added Mr Macwhirter. The former soldier had got into �3,000 worth of debt with a loan shark and had resorted to the shoplifting in an attempt to avoid a beating.

Magistrates gave Mark Haile a 12-week suspended jail sentence; he will be supervised by the probation service for 12 months and must pay �385.75 compensation and �285 costs. Melissa Haile is due to be sentenced on March 23.