A UNIVERSITY student obtained high-value cars by taking them on extended test drives and then not returning them.
Sean Babalola made high-flying claims, including he was a football manager, to convince dealers in Stratford, Stafford and Bedford, to part with the cars for him to try out.
In each case the cars – a Mercedes, an Audi Q8 and a Range Rover – were recovered in Leamington.
Babalola, of Bevan Avenue, Barking, East London, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of taking cars without consent and one of fraud.
The 22-year-old was given a 12-month community sentence and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £550 costs, as well as being banned from driving for six months.
In October last year he persuaded staff at a dealership in Stratford to let him have the use of a £47,000 Mercedes for an extended test drive.
He should have returned it at the end of the day, after which the insurance ran out, but failed to do so – and a tracker device showed it had ended up in Leamington, from where it was subsequently recovered undamaged.
He did similar at dealerships in Stafford and Bedford, with a £72,000 Range Rover and a £75,000 Audi.
Simon Hunka, defending, said Babalola was in the final year of a degree course at Leicester University, and had interviews lined up for jobs in marketing.
Sentencing him, Judge Anthony Potter told Babalola: “You obtained the use of vehicles worth getting on for £200,000. There is always a cost, and the cost to you is your loss of good character.
“You have criminal convictions which you’re going to have to declare to employers who, particularly in the money management field, will not be impressed by a conviction for fraud.”