Phoney cop caught out by spelling error

A BUNGLING liar who impersonated a police officer in order to secure the lease on a house has been spared jail.

Tom Potter

A BUNGLING liar who impersonated a police officer in order to secure the lease on a house has been spared jail.

Simon Lucas managed to convince his girlfriend he was a policeman but came unstuck when his spelling let him down and a suspicious landlord exposed his charade.

Lucas, who moved from his home in Kesgrave with the intention of impressing a landlord with his supposed profession in order to secure a lease for a house in Colchester, was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

The 23-year-old appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court for sentencing, after pleading guilty to impersonating a police constable.

He stood in court having already spent two weeks in custody for breaching the conditions of a community order, imposed for an unrelated conviction.

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The court heard how Lucas had tried to convince the property owner in Colchester that he was an officer with Essex police.

On July 18 the landlord visited the property leased to Lucas to collect a tenancy agreement. On it, Lucas had provided the name of his supposed superior, Barry String, at the force but the landlord became immediately suspicious when he saw that Lucas had written Superintendent as two separate words.

The landlord confirmed his doubts when he contacted Essex police and found that they had never heard of Lucas or indeed his concocted Superintendent Barry String.

Stephen Colman, prosecuting, said: “The landlord gave him the benefit of the doubt but the next time he saw the defendant, Lucas told him he was in fact a firearms officer.”

He said the landlord informed police and when Lucas couldn't produce a warrant card he was arrested.

“In an interview he accepted that he had lied in the tenancy agreement,” Mr Colman said.

Robert Newbould, representing Lucas, said: “This is rather an unusual offence it must be said, and Mr Lucas didn't actually get very far.

“He attempted to secure accommodation and nothing more than that. There is no suggestion that he persuaded anyone he was acting in the duty of a police officer and in terms of financial gain, nothing was made.

“He is remorseful, particularly to his girlfriend to whom he had lied in order to impress her.”

Magistrates told Lucas, who told the court he was of no fixed abode, that a custodial sentence was appropriate in his case but decided to suspend any jail term for a year. He was also told to complete 100 hours unpaid work.

Magistrate Edward Draper, chairman of the bench, said: “Prison will be hanging over you and if you fail to carry out the court's order you will go there.”

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