A teenager caught passing counterfeit £20 notes at a Bedford pub was given a suspended sentence yesterday.
The judge at Luton Crown Court accepted that Blaine Gibbons was being used by a ‘Mr Big’ when he used the fake money at The Anchor in Goldington Road.
Gibbons, 18, was arrested on 7 November last year after staff at the pub called the police, said prosecutor Michael Attenborough.
Some 21 counterfeit notes had been handed over in the pub, causing a loss of £420.30. More notes were found on Gibbons, along with £620 in genuine currency. He gave a no comment interview to the police, refusing to say how he came by the forged currency.
Gibbons, of Goodrich Avenue, Putnoe, Bedford, pleaded guilty to possessing counterfeit currency, passing counterfeit currency and possessing a small amount of cannabis. He had no previous convictions.
Defending, Mark Nicholls said Gibbons had been asked to do it to pay off a debt. He was immature and naive. He is deeply ashamed of his actions.”
Judge Michael Kay QC said: “He is not Mr Big. Somebody else is involved, but he is not saying who he is. I accept he was being used.”
He told Gibbons, who was supported in court by his family: “There is more to it than you are prepared to admit. There is another person who should be in the dock with you.”
The judge passed a 12 month sentence suspended for two years, with conditions that he carried out 250 hours of unpaid work and abides by a six month curfew between 8pm and 6am.
The £620 genuine currency was forfeit and from that £420 compensation will be paid to the pub.