A couple who claimed to be so broke they had to borrow money from relatives ran up £1million in fraudulent debt and spent it on a fleet of Bentleys and Range Rovers.

Jeremy Palmer, 53, and his wife Dawn, 50, from Dunton near Basildon in Essex managed to obtain a credit card in the name of an unwitting relative to rack up debt between 2002 and 2008.

The couple, who pleaded not guilty, were jailed for a total of eight and a half years when they appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday following a seven-week trial.