20-year-old scammed town centre shops with fake Scottish bank notes

A 20-year-old was caught red-handed after attempting to buy from town centre businesses using fake Scottish bank notes.

Christopher Ward appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday via a video link from HMP Peterborough, where he is currently being held on remand in relation to other allegations.

He was charged with two counts of knowingly passing counterfeit bank notes. He committed the offences between September 7 and 15 last year.

Christopher Ward used the fake bank notes at various shops in Lynn town centre. Picture: Ian Burt
Christopher Ward used the fake bank notes at various shops in Lynn town centre. Picture: Ian Burt

Ward previously pleaded not guilty to the matters on August 30, but admitted them this time around.

Crown prosecutor Lesla Small told magistrates that on the day of his offences, Ward entered H&M in Lynn’s town centre and attempted to purchase a gift card for £5 using a fake Scottish £50 bank note.

However, staff had concerns about the note and handed it back to him.

Street rangers and police in Lynn were alerted to the situation, but Ward had already paid a visit to New Look and purchased a series of small items worth a combined £5.

This time, the counterfeit note was accepted, and Ward was able to claim £45 in genuine change.

By repeating the feat, he managed to claim a total of £90 in cash on the day.

Eventually, after he was spotted on CCTV footage, rangers and police were able to catch up to him. While he was being searched, another fraudulent note was found on his person.

Magistrates, led by Terrance Geater, ordered Ward to pay £50 in compensation to each of the shops he scammed.

He was also told to pay a £225 fine, £90 victim surcharge and legal costs of £145.

Because he was unable to pay the legal costs on the day, he was handed one additional day’s detention in custody.

In mitigation, Andrew Cogan said of Ward’s offences: “It is pretty unsophisticated.

“There is no suggestion that he tries to run off or anything like that, so there is co-operation there.

“On the CCTV footage that I have seen, it is clear that the H&M shop assistants are genuinely concerned about whether the Scottish notes are genuine.

“He has a particularly distinctive beard and his hair is distinctive as well – it is clear it is him.”