Man jailed after TV swap scam

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A FRAUDSTER who fooled checkout staff into selling him televisions at cut prices has been jailed.

Michael Wilson switched the barcode stickers on 11 TVs with codes from cheaper models, Durham Crown Court heard.

“Wilson would put a Samsung 55-inch set in his trolley,” said Michael Graham, prosecuting.

“The barcode on the box was for a much cheaper 37-inch model, which was the price he paid. He partly obscured the box with other items such as bags of potatoes, presumably to make it less likely the assistant would notice the size of television he was buying.”

The court heard Wilson went through the checkouts at Costco, in Gateshead, 11 times before the company noticed a discrepancy in their stock.

Wilson, 21, of Arthur Street, Whitburn, admitted fraud in January and February last year.

He has a previous conviction for fraud when he opened credit accounts at builders’ merchants, but did not pay for the goods.

Chris Morrison, defending, said: “Mr Wilson was only a minor player in the credit account fraud. He got into debt and was being pressed in a sinister manner by some of his creditors.

“The loan sharks have now been paid, so the motivation to offend again is not there.”

Jailing him for nine months Judge Simon Hickey said: “The total loss to Costco was more than £10,000. This was not just a one-off, it was a determined offence which you repeated many times.”