Bank called police on Northampton gambler shaking with nerves as he tried to cash fake cheque

Geoffrey Newman was convicted at Dundee Sheriff Court for trying to cash a fake cheque.
Geoffrey Newman was convicted at Dundee Sheriff Court for trying to cash a fake cheque.

A Northampton gambler was shaking so much as he tried to cash a fake cheque that bank staff called the cops, a court heard.

Geoffrey Newman, 28, walked out of a Barclays Bank branch in Scotland after he was rumbled, and was later arrested at his home in Northampton.

He was shaking so much from nerves when he tried to sign the cheque that staff suspected he was trying to con them into giving him £1,500 and called the police.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told Newman walked into Barclays Bank and asked for a cheque to be cashed.

Fiscal depute Marie Irvine said: “He handed over the cheque and a driving licence as identification and he was asked to sign the back of the cheque, which is normal practice. The staff member put the cheque through the light machine and it showed it up as being fake.”

Solicitor Ross Bennett, defending Newman, told the court he was from Northampton and had lived there all his life.

“He had built up significant gambling debts — it was through card schools and certain persons he did not want to get on the wrong side of railed on him to settle his debts,” said Mr Bennett.

“He couldn’t do that so they set up a scheme and drove him to Dundee.

“Mr Newman suffers from anxiety and was shaking badly when he went into the bank.”

Mr Bennett said staff are trained to spot certain behaviour and the teller kept him waiting while another member of staff contacted police.

“Mr Newman left the bank when he realised something was up,” he added.

Newman was identified through bank CCTV and was eventually traced after a warrant was issued for his arrest last August.

He was arrested at his home in Northampton and brought to Dundee.

Newman appeared from custody and admitted to attempting to obtain £1,500 through presenting a fake cheque.

Sheriff Hughes told Newman he wanted to send out a message to those involved in offences such as this who used people like him to commit crimes for financial gain.

He said: “Offences of this nature are taken very, very seriously by the courts.”

The sheriff deferred sentence until April 11 for reports and a restriction of liberty order assessment and remanded Newman in custody.