Long arm of the law finally catches up with dishonest number plate dealer Nicholas Copsey 16 years after he went on run

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

Justice has finally caught up with a former Ipswich man who went on the run before he could be sentenced 16 years ago.

Nicholas Copsey, formerly of Henley Road, is now behind bars after the authorities swooped to arrest him when he returned to the country from Spain earlier this month.

The 54-year-old had been on the wanted list ever since he jumped bail in December 1998 while awaiting his fate for a deception over ‘cherished’ number plates.

He was imprisoned for four months when he was brought back before Ipswich Crown Court for his belated sentencing.

Copsey was detained when he arrived at Gatwick Airport on January 14 after returning to England on a flight from Alicante.


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It is understood he had been living in Spain for some time.

Copsey and another man had been awaiting sentence at Ipswich Crown Court after being accused of attempting to obtain property by deception, obtaining property by deception, using a false instrument and making a false instrument.

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The offences were said to have taken place in 1996 and the court case began in 1997.

Copsey’s co-accused was sentenced to a community order. However, Copsey fled while on bail and a warrant was put out for his arrest on December 18, 1998.

The case involved the transfer of what were said to be cherished number plates, which are also known as personalised number plates.

People often seek a particular plate for some time and the items can fetch high prices.

The plates can only be transferred if they have been registered.

Copsey and his co-accused were understood to have been pretending the cars to which the plates they were selling belonged had been scrapped or disposed of in some way.

After his return to Ipswich Crown Court Copsey was sentenced to 18 weeks’ imprisonment for failing to surrender to custody after being released on bail.

He was also sentenced on two counts of making a false declaration relating to the 1998 case. For each of these offences he was given 10-week prison term. However, these sentences are to run concurrently with the bail act offence.

After the case a spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “People who fail to appear at court without good reason should be aware that there will be consequences for not attending.

“We are pleased this defendant has now been brought to justice for his offending.”

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