A SUFFOLK bus spotter has admitted defrauding nearly £11,000 from one of the world’s biggest insurance companies in order to carry out research for his hobby.

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Over a period of nearly two years Steven Curl, who worked for AXA, racked up a £10,983 bill for the insurance giant by going on to the credit-checking website Experian to look up details of vehicles.

The 45-year-old pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position when he appeared at his plea and case management hearing at Ipswich Crown Court.

The fraud was carried out between December 4, 2007, and October 14, 2009.

The court heard Curl, of Pearmain Walk, Haverhill, abused his position as an employee of AXA in which he was expected to safeguard the company’s interests.

He accessed Experian to conduct transactions with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for personal use.

It is understood the transactions relate to plates of vehicles and their registered keepers.

Curl was one of the approved staff in the claims handling department of AXA in Haverhill who had permission to access information through Experian for his job.

In addition to his sentencing, which is due to take place next month, Curl will also face a proceeds of crime hearing as police seek to claw back the money he spent.

Lyndsay Cox, representing Curl, told the court his client was of previous good character.

He added: “The defendant has lost his job inevitably as a result of this matter. The only asset he has is the house he shares with his partner.”

Judge Peter Thompson directed the Proceeds of Crime timetable to begin. He then adjourned Curl’s sentencing until November 4.

In the meantime a probation report is to be prepared.

A hearing was also scheduled for the proceeds of crime matter. This is due to take place at Ipswich Crown Court on January 12.

Judge Thompson said he hoped the matter would be able to be resolved on that date.

Curl was released on unconditional bail.

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