Man avoids jail after being caught spending fake £50 notes at Gunwharf Quays

John Waterman, left, and John Rooney, admitted tending as genuine counterfeit notes at Gunwharf Quays
John Waterman, left, and John Rooney, admitted tending as genuine counterfeit notes at Gunwharf Quays
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A MAN who was caught buying designer clothes with fake cash has been given a community order.

John Waterman, of Fawcett Road in Southsea, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court today where he was handed an 18-month community sentence.

It came after Waterman, along with a friend, 50-year-old John Rooney, purchased £245 worth of clothes at Ralph Lauren at Gunwharf Quays using a series of counterfeit £50 notes, proceeding to pocket the change, on August 16.

While the act went undetected, the pair then attempted to buy more items – including a striped top and a pair of women’s tracksuit bottoms – at nearby Jack Wills, where staff noticed the notes all carried the same serial number and had no foil strip.

Waterman – who also admitted possession of cannabis – had 10 notes, claiming he was given them and did not initially know they were fake.

Rooney, also of Fawcett Road, told Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court last month he knew the 14 notes he had were not real because of their texture, but claimed he got them from a ‘friend of a friend’ to sell on over a drug debt.

The pair pleaded guilty to the offence at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, September 29.

However, after he failed to appear at Portsmouth Crown Court today, it was only Waterman was sentenced.

Imposing the punishment, alongside a two-month 7pm-7am home curfew and a charge of £35, judge Stephen Climie said to Waterman: ‘You know your way around the criminal courts as well as anybody in this room today.

‘This act was a fairly inept in terms of what you set out to achieve and was always going to be detected in a fairly short period of time.

‘If you commit any offence in the next 18 months you will be brought before me again and I will send you to prison for a significant period of time.’

City police started investigations into a spike of counterfeit notes in August.

It came after it was discovered they were used for purchases at local coffee shops, supermarkets and Queen Alexandra Hospital.

In a bid to tackle the circulation of the illegitimate currency, crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers and the Bank of England are offering fake cash spotters a £1,000 reward for bringing forward any information that leads to a related arrest and charge.

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