Hotel fraudster escapes jail for a fifth time after breaching suspended sentence again

Aaron Exelby, pictured outside Hull Crown Court
-Credit: (Image: Hull Live)

A fraudster who fiddled nearly £3,500 from his unsuspecting bosses by sneakily creating fake home-made invoices for bogus stays at Travelodge and Premier Inn hotels has continued his Houdini escape act by avoiding prison for a fifth time.

Aaron Exelby pretended to be in other parts of the country while working for a caravan company but, in reality, he sometimes stayed in the Hull area and went nowhere near where he was supposed to be working.

He took advantage of the fact that the company did not use trackers on its vans but he was caught out after he asked other workers whether they knew that this was the case, Hull Crown Court heard.


Exelby, 36, of Bowland Way, Hull, admitted breaching an eight-month suspended prison sentence that was imposed at a hearing on July 7, 2022 and he also admitted driving while disqualified and having no insurance and test certificate on November 8.

Daisy Wrigley, prosecuting, said that Exelby worked at the time as an aftercare engineer for Delta Caravans International Ltd from June 16, 2021 and he travelled around the country carrying out work on caravans sold to customers. He could claim hotel and petrol costs through submitting invoices and receipts.

On September 11 of that year, an investigation was carried out into invoices and receipts submitted the previous week and it was discovered that a hotel booking for Exelby did not exist. He had never stayed at a Travelodge that he had claimed for and the invoice supplied was fake and falsified. It showed that Exelby had supposedly left the hotel before he was even due to arrive.

It was discovered that, while Exelby was supposedly working in the south of the country between September 12 and 14, 2021, he was not actually there at all but was still in the Hull area. Further investigations were carried out into all the hotel receipts. Of 21 invoices, 18 turned out to be fake and only three were legitimate, said Miss Wrigley. They involved supposed Premier Inn and Travelodge stays.

The total fraud was £3,468, including £3,339 for hotels, £99.72 for petrol that was put in a friend's car using a fuel card while the works van was also there, and £29.26 for food.

At a BP garage, Exelby bought £50 worth of petrol and, when the payment on a bank card did not go through, he gave false details supposedly to pay for it instead of the failed card. He did not have a valid driving licence. Exelby later admitted that he created the invoices himself and submitted them for financial gain.

At the July 2022 hearing, he had, as well as the eight-month suspended sentence, been given a three-month monitoring tag, 15 days' rehabilitation and had been ordered to pay £3,468 compensation. Exelby had admitted fraud, making off without paying for petrol and driving with the wrong class of licence.

Harry Bradford, mitigating, told the latest hearing that the driving offences put Exelby in breach again of the original suspended sentence and he knew that he should not have been driving.

"His record is difficult to defend," said Mr Bradford. "He has a long history of road traffic offences." Since April this year, when Exelby had again avoided prison for breaching the suspended sentence, he had "reached a turning point" and his life had begun to "change dramatically".

He had previously had "no sense of direction" but he now had the offer of work after losing his earlier job and he now had a changed home life.

Exelby was, for the latest breach, again spared prison and he was given a three-month suspended prison sentence and 30 hours' unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £150 costs and was banned from driving for one year.