A Norwegian telecom engineer who drove an Irish rental car across Europe to his home country, in breach of his agreement, has been given a three-month jail term.
Bjorn Erlend Tveter, aged 41, declined to return the car after the company contacted him when they were alerted that the car had been caught speeding in the Netherlands. Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that 9,000 miles (14,480km) were clocked up on the car.
Tveter, from Norway and with a former address in Celbridge, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to use of a false instrument being a fraudulent rental agreement on dates between November 10 and 25, 2020. He has previous convictions for drug offences in Norway and Sweden.
The court heard he was extradited to Ireland in January after he was stopped travelling from Spain to Gibraltar. He has been in custody since that date.
Garda Dominic McGrath told Joe Barnes, prosecuting, that Tveter had used a false rental agreement using a former address to lease a car and left the State in the car. The rental company were alerted the following day when a speeding ticket was flagged for the car in the Netherlands.
Garda McGrath said the company contacted Tveter and asked him to return the car but he told them he needed it and was going to hold on to it for a couple of months. He was asked to surrender it to the police in Norway but declined.
Phone and email contact continued with Tveter but the car was flagged as stolen and recovered by police in Norway. The company sent a contractor to repatriate the car, at a cost of €3,200.
Aoife O’Leary, defending, said her client, who works as a telecoms engineer, used his real name, driving licence, and bank card but used an address he no longer lived at on the rental agreement. She said he was easily traceable.
Ms O’Leary said he had paid €1,500 initially to the company on the 12-month lease and a further €3,500 was taken from his credit card at a later stage. The company is at a remaining loss of €1,200.
She said he had engaged with the person he rented the car from and had believed he was allowed to take the car out of the State. She said he was in a position to pay the outstanding money to the company.
The court heard when stopped by Norwegian police, he told them he had “borrowed” the car and did not see the problem. The police seized the car and let Tveter go.
Passing sentence on Monday, Judge Martin Nolan said Tveter appeared to make “a habit of sailing close to the wind". He imposed a sentence of 12 months and suspended the final nine months, backdating it to January 13, 2023. He ordered the outstanding €1,200 be paid over.