A "WELL-respected" Dales farmer has been jailed for organising an insurance scam after crashing his four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Graham Jackson even enlisted the help of four others - described as "pillars of the community" in Low Bentham - to fake a burglary and cover up the fact he was driving the Isuzu Trooper when it ploughed into a hedge.

Then he falsely claimed £6,900 from his insurers by stating that the vehicle had been stolen, prosecutor Helen Sanderson told Bradford Crown Court.

Jackson, 34, and Julie Longton, 25, both of Birkwith Lane, Robert Park, 55, of Toll House, Gate House, and Samuel Hanafin, 32, and Nicola Mountain, 33, both of Main Street, pleaded guilty to doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice.

Jackson also admitted obtaining money by deception, driving a vehicle while unfit through drink and careless driving.

He was jailed for four months, banned from driving for 15 months and ordered to repay the £6,900 to his insurers.

The others were given a 12-month community order including 80 hours unpaid work for the community and ordered to pay £28 costs each.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Benson told Jackson: "It is a great shame to see someone of your qualities before the court.

"You have been a hard-working and well-respected member of the farming community.

"That night you took too much drink, had an accident, and you decided very stupidly to cover that up.

"To do that, you dragged down the four people who sit beside you in the dock by pretending to the police there had been a burglary.

"You then took matters further by making an insurance claim."

Judge Benson told the other four defendants: "You are all responsible people who are pillars of your community.

"I am confident you were placed in an invidious position and you took the wrong course of action. What you did was a very serious matter."

Miss Sanderson told the court how Lancashire police were called to the incident in the early hours of November 6 on the Wray to Bentham road.

They found the driverless Isuzu on its roof, blocking the road. It had damaged three stretches of hedge and officers found a number plate which allowed them to trace the owner.

When they went to Jackson's farmhouse home they found there was no-one there, but noted that everything was intact.

Later, a detective was called to the property after a break-in was reported. The people there stated they had been out drinking and returned to find the house had been entered and the vehicle keys taken.

Statements were made to that effect and a claim was then made to the NFU Mutual Insurance Company in respect of the vehicle. A cheque was issued and cashed six days afterwards.

Mountain later admitted her statement had been false. She said Hanafin and Jackson had made up the story to cover up the fact that Jackson had been drinking.

Longton admitted she had been there when the kitchen window was broken.

Jackson was interviewed again and insisted his statement was true. He claimed the others had been pressured by the police into changing their story.

Eventually, he admitted to the police that he had panicked after the crash and had asked Hanafin to break the window.

For Jackson, it was stated that as a man of some standing in the community he was "bitterly ashamed". It was the thought of a driving ban that had been at the heart of the "stupid offences".

The judge was urged to keep any prison term to a minimum as Jackson had 200 sheep that had just started lambing.

After the hearing, Detective Constable Peter Elliott said: "Hopefully this will act as a deterrent to drink-driving. If you choose to drink-drive you must accept the consequences of your actions."