A WAREHOUSEMAN was caught out after he went on a spending spree with fake cash.
John Ryan Elliott handed over counterfeit £20 notes in Jack Wills, Triple S and JD Sports in Durham before staff became suspicious and called in police.
As Elliott was arrested at the sports store, so was pal Billy Joe Powers, who was found to have three of the £20 forgeries on him.
Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard Elliott bought his notes for £50 from a man in a green pick-up truck the night before the incident on July 3.
Debra Jones, prosecuting, said while Elliott admitted to police he purchased the forgeries, Powers told officers he had been drunk the night before and had found them in his pocket,
It was only when he appeared at court he revealed he had known it was not real money.
Elliott, 20, admitted three charges of offering tender – two £20 notes in Jack Wills, two in JD Sports and four in Triple S – which he knew was counterfeit currency and Powers, 23, a single charge of being in custody of counterfeit currency, the three £20 notes.
Both were warned they could be jailed for the offences, which carry a custodial sentence as a deterrent because a flood of forgeries could put the country’s economy at a risk of collapse.
Solicitors urged the bench to suspend any jail terms and added the length of time it had taken the matter to come before court had an impact on their lives.
Nick Musgrove, mitigating for Elliott, said: “When I’ve asked him today, it was quite apparent he had no idea of the gravity of this.
“He has been taken up short by what has been said to him by lawyers. Courts take this very seriously and he had no idea back in July it is considered such a severe matter.
“He can’t believe he was so stupid and is puzzled as anyone else by what has led to him facing a conviction for dishonesty and being before the court in his precarious position.”
Warren Ridley, mitigating for Powers, who is unemployed, said his client was in a different position because he had not tried to use the notes.
Both men were given 12-month community orders with supervision and ordered to pay £85 in costs, with Elliott, of Tunstall Avenue, Bowburn, given 150 hours of unpaid work and Powers, of Cedar Terrace, Cornforth, 130 hours.
Mrs Jones’ application for the destruction of the notes was approved.