A Rochdale man who was involved in a scheme to defraud banks in the Highlands has been jailed for 18 months.
Jamie Hannon (21) presented a fake driving licence and stolen cheques at banks in Aviemore, Inverness and Dingwall between December 2016 and January of this year.
Hannon was finally tracked down by police thanks to an alert member of staff at the Bank of Scotland in Tulloch Street in Dingwall.
She suspected the driving licence that had been shown by Hannon when he tried to fraudulently tender a cheque was a fake.
The branch had already been alerted after a fraud in Aviemore earlier that day on January 26.
Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood was told the bank employee in Dingwall checked the licence under UV light and confirmed it was indeed a fake.
Depute fiscal Michelle Molley said the employee went to speak to her manager and Hannon took a seat in the bank.
"Another colleague informed (Hannon) that they were having issues with their systems and (Hannon) left the branch and stood outside and never returned," said Ms Molley.
Two police officers attended, reviewed CCTV and identified Hannon attempting to tender the cheque.
Later that day police observed a vehicle stopped at a layby at Strathsteven, Golspie.
Three men were present and Hannon was a rear seat passenger and he was detained.
The fiscal said officers seized £4,580 in an envelope and a post it note with details of an account that had £4,896 fraudulently transferred that day.
Subsequent investigations linked Hannon with similar offences.
On Friday December 16 Hannon had gone into the Bank of Scotland in Eastgate in Inverness and asked to cash a cheque from a business account.
Hannon signed a pre-written cheque for the sum of £1,300 in the name of a scaffolding company from Strathclyde.
Ms Molley said Hannon was asked how he wanted the cash and when the customer services adviser began to count the money the bank’s computer flagged up the cheque book had been reported stolen.
Hannon was then asked questions by the member of staff who also requested to see the cheque book.
Hannon produced the cheque book then the false driving licence.
Hannon was becoming to get agitated when the bank teller said she had to get authorisation.
"When asked questions by other staff regarding his identity he confirmed his date of birth but was unable to give his age. He then stated he had a car outside and he needed to leave."
Ms Molley said he left the bank and did not return.
Events were captured on camera by the bank CCTV.
At 1pm on January 26 police received a report that a man had cashed three fraudulent cheques at the Bank of Scotland in Aviemore.
Hannon produced the same licence he had used in Inverness when asked for identification.
The name on the driving licence and the cheque book - an orthodontics company - were checked against the one held on record and it was confirmed they all matched.
The cashier then ‘cashed’ two cheques for Hannon totalling £4,600. Hannon then requested funds totalling £4,896 to be transferred to his other business account. This was done and Hannon left the bank.
But suspicions were aroused.
Inquiries were made and the owner of the orthodontics company, whose name also appeared on the fake driving licence, said he was on holiday in Cyprus and no-one had permission to draw monies from his company account.
An internal bulletin was sent to other Bank of Scotland branches making them aware of the fraud that had occurred.
In the bulletin she included the card part of the fake driving licence and the name on it which was presented with the fraudulent cheque.
The £4,896 which was transferred was withdrawn 37 minutes later in the south of England.
Later that day Hannon carried out the fraud in Aviemore and this eventually led to his arrest.
Hannon admitted charges of uttering a false cheque, presenting a fake driving licence and forming a fraudulent scheme pretending to be an employee of companies to get the banks to hand over money.
Solicitor Patrick O’Dea said Hannon was in a relationship and had a young child, and he was struggling to make ends meet.
He met with an individual who gave him the chance to earn some cash in hand.
"He didn’t realise the gravity of the offence he was to become involved in."
Mr O’Dea said Hannon was offered a sum of money to present the cheques.
"Without being unkind the intellect behind this is not him. The others in the vehicle escaped the noose as it were," said Mr O’Dea. "He knows he was getting involved in things which were unlawful."
Mr O’Dea said Hannon knew he was going to jail. He had been in custody since January and had not enjoyed the experience.
Sheriff Fleetwood jailed Hannon for a total of 18 months back dated to January 30 when he was remanded.