A GROUP of men - including two former business managers at the NatWest branch in Bradford city centre - conspired to scam the bank out of £350,000 through dodgy loan applications, a court heard.

Bradford Crown Court was told that Anzar Hussain, 43, of Rayner Avenue, Girlington, Bradford, was working at the high street bank as business banking manager at the time of the offences.

While it was not possible for the prosecution to say who was the "author of the dishonest scheme" they told the court Hussain "occupied a leading, if not the leading, role in this conspiracy."

The dishonest bank manager, who was previously convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and deception, was joined in the dock by former banking colleague James Clegg.

Clegg, 34, also worked at the Natwest in Bradford, and appeared to hold a position much the same as Hussain.

Christopher Smith, prosecuting, said: "It would appear he [Hussain] recruited James Clegg to assist him in this fraud.

"There was no need with a loan that size of external approval."

In total 14 false loan applications were made between 2010 and 2011, at £25,000 each.

The court heard that some of the loans were applied for using stolen identities while other individuals, who also appeared in court, willingly lent themselves to the scheme.

Some of the others involved in the fraud would help withdrawing the scammed money from the bank.

Bradford Crown Court heard that once the applications were made loans of £25,000 were sought, 'not a penny more or a penny less'.

Mr Smith explained: "£25,000 was the maximum sum that could be authorised by either Anzar Hussain or James Clegg. I say both but they were only ever authorised by James Clegg."

Once the loan had been approved, it would be put in a fictitious account and removed in large withdrawals.

The withdrawals would need the permission of a bank manager - Clegg.

Clegg, of Storths Road, Huddersfield, has previously been convicted of conspiracy to defraud.

Speaking about Hussain, Mr Smith said: "He occupies a pivotal role in this conspiracy he was one of the instigators.

"He appears to have really, certainly inside the back, the controlling mind in the conspiracy. Having James Clegg do his bidding it would seem."

Mr Smith told the court that Clegg had a central role in the conspiracy.

He said the 14 dodgy loans amounted to a loss of £350,000 but the total actual loss after money was recovered was just less than £290,000.

The men are due to be sentenced on Monday.