SOUTH LYNN: Needed cash for drugs and to tackle debt
A fraudster tried to cash forged cheques totalling more than £2,300 to fund a drug habit and pay off his debts, a court heard.
Cannabis addict Ashar Stevens tried to con six banks across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire within just seven days, Lynn magistrates were told.
The 24-year-old had successfully cashed two forged British Gas cheques at two HSBC banks in Cambridge, but he was caught out when he tried to repeat the act a further four times.
Stevens, of Metcalf Avenue, South Lynn, claimed he was cashing the cheques for somebody else, and was only taking a small cut of the money for himself.
Claire Williamson, for Stevens, said he felt pressured to try and deposit the money as he was in “dire straits”, with accumulating debts and problems with cannabis and binge drinking.
Yvonne Neill, prosecuting, said Stevens successfully cashed a cheque for £385.20 at an HSBC branch in Cambridge on May 11, and attempted another at a Wisbech bank the same day, but staff became suspicious.
She said: “Staff said some checks would need to be completed before the cheque could be cashed.
“The defendant said he had to leave to take his partner to hospital for a scan and would return later, but he never did.”
Three days later, on May 14, he successfully cashed a second £385.20 cheque, at a different HSBC branch in Cambridge.
On May 15 he tried his luck again at banks in Norwich and Swaffham, and in Peterborough on May 17, but to no avail.
Ms Neill added: “He was darting from area to area within a short space of time trying to cash these forged cheques.”
Miss Williamson said the defendant was drinking in the pub one day, when two unknown men spoke to him about cashing the British Gas cheques.
She said: “He was struggling to make ends meet at the time, and they said they could help him to make some money. For every cheque he cashed he got £100, so he made £200.”
Stevens appeared before West Norfolk Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday and admitted six counts of fraud by making a false representation in an attempt to make a gain.
Magistrates told him he was lucky not to be going to prison, and sentenced him to a 12-month supervision order with Thinking Skills and alcohol programme requirements.
He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to HSBC bank. There was no order for costs.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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