THE finance director of a Lye firm has been jailed after pleading guilty to fraud.

Aimee Purchase, aged 36, of Hunter's Gate, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, who was employed as the finance director for MI Engineering Limited in Lye, admitted fraud by abuse of a position of trust and yesterday (Thursday July 13) at Shrewsbury Crown Court she was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

Her husband Rikki Purchase, aged 38, of the same address, who was a director of Monster Tuning Limited based in Telford, pleaded guilty to money laundering to the value of more than £100,000 and he was also sentenced yesterday to two years imprisonment - suspended for two years.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright, of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said when MI Engineering Limited completed its year-end accounts in August 2014 it was established there was a discrepancy to the value of more than £660,000.

She added: "The investigation found the money had been paid to either an account in the name of Monster Tuning Limited or had been credited to accounts belonging to Aimee and Rikki Purchase.

"Enquiries revealed that money stolen from MI Engineering Limited had been used to fund the couple's lifestyle and also to support Rikki Purchase's company Monster Tuning Limited.”

DI Wright said the case had been “a long and complex investigation” and she added: “I am pleased with the verdict of the court. I feel the sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime, as well as how Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police remain committed to bringing those committing fraud and financial crime to justice.

"Both defendants will now also face proceedings to recover the assets stolen, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This process can allow for victims to be compensated and denies criminals the benefits of their crimes."