Grimsby conman jailed for fake notes spending spree
BUSINESSES are being urged to work together to defeat conmen after a man was jailed for trying to spend fake £10 notes to make "easy money".
Christopher Roberts is now in prison after going on shopping sprees with the forged cash, attempting to buy...
• Crisps, a newspaper and a soft drink from Pennells Garden Centre.
• Cigarettes at McColl's newsagents, in Cleethorpes.
• A chip sandwich at Sea Lane Fisheries, Humberston.
Not only that, the 27-year-old was also caught out for stealing high-value computer games – altogether worth more than £1,500 – from Tesco supermarkets in the area.
Roberts, of Evelyn Grove North, Grimsby, admitted four counts of passing counterfeit notes, using them to pay for low-value items in the hope of making "some easy money", Grimsby Crown Court heard.
He slipped into crime and serious drug abuse after losing his job, and, having obtained fake notes, tried to spend them over a short period of time.
Today, Will Pennell, the manager of Pennells Garden Centre, Cleethorpes – where Roberts paid for crisps, a newspaper and a soft drink with three forged notes – said the problem could be overcome by firms working together.
Suspicious staff at the store realised there was something wrong with the look and feel of the notes Roberts was trying to use on May 29 last year.
And a till check revealed that a fourth had already been handed over.
Mr Pennell said: "We have cameras behind each till and when we realised what had happened, we viewed the footage.
"It is not just the money that is lost but also the time that the police have spent in the investigation.
"This was a one-off for us and we are glad that he got caught."
Charlotte Baines, prosecuting, told the court that Roberts had also tried to use a fake note to pay for cigarettes at McColl's newsagents, in Cleethorpes, on May 3.
He used another to pay for a drink at McCormack's bar, Cleethorpes, on June 2 but a member of staff realised it was forged.
And then, on the same day, he tried to buy a chip sandwich at Sea Lane Fisheries, in Humberston.
Roberts also admitted stealing 23 console games and two multi-packs of crisps, together valued at £927, from Tesco in Grimsby on November 26.
He struggled after being detained and was grabbed by his clothes and held down on the floor.
He pleaded guilty to some more stealing offences: 17 games and computer games, as well as other items, together valued at £692, from Tesco in Skegness on October 2 and stealing two computer games, valued at £84, from Tesco in Hewitt's Circus, Cleethorpes, on January 8.
Michael Culshaw, mitigating, said Roberts, the father of a three-year-old daughter, was in a job for about four years, but lost it in April 2012.
"It has been a sorry situation since then," Mr Culshaw added. "He had a particularly serious substance problem."
Judge David Tremberg told Roberts that the fake currency offences were particularly serious.
"It undermines the integrity of our way of doing business and it undermines confidence and trust in the system," he said.
Prison sentences had to be passed to deter Roberts and others from doing what seemed to be a way to make "some easy money".
The prison sentence included 10 months for the fake currency offences, a year for the thefts and two months for breaching a community order.