A PET owner used fake money-off vouchers to buy food for his animal.
Kevin Stamps handed in more than £190-worth of vouchers to Pets at Home in The Galleries, Washington.
The fraudster used the dodgy coupons a number of times during February.
He was finally caught after the store manager noticed the vouchers were not genuine.
Stamps initially denied the offence and even told police his mother had bought the vouchers from online auction site eBay.
But he pleaded guilty to one offence of fraud on the morning of his trial at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
Paul Doney, prosecuting, said the 36-year-old made several visits to the pet store, which alerted its boss.
He said: “The manager noticed a large number of vouchers used to purchase goods.
“He inquired about the vouchers and found out that they were fake. He then viewed the store’s CCTV to view the customer using the vouchers.”
Footage showed Stamps, from Washington, using £20 of vouchers at 1.40pm and 5.10pm on February 16, and £90 of vouchers were spent on February 21.
The following day the fraudster was back in store, this time spending £40 in vouchers at 12.06pm and £50 less than an hour later at 1.04pm.
This time, police were called and Stamps was arrested, still with six vouchers in his possession.
Mr Doney added: “He said his mother had bought the vouchers from eBay and didn’t know they were fake.
“His mother denied all knowledge of this, and in the second interview he said an unknown male had offered him the vouchers at a cashpoint and he had paid £30 for them.”
Sandra Fife, defending, said Stamps, of Wellington Walk, now admitted he knew the vouchers were not real.
“He was for saying in his interview he though they were genuine, but on reflection he accepts that the amount of vouchers he was getting for the money he paid and just to be approached by someone was suspicious.
“He has animals and saw the opportunity to get food for those animals,” she added.
Chairman Carol Robson said: “I’m sure you realise how silly you have been and you have learnt your lesson the hard way.”
Unemployed Stamps was fined £50, ordered to pay court costs of £150, £40 compensation to Pets at Home and a £20 victim surcharge.