A SHOPLIFTER with a large number of previous convictions tried to pass himself off as his clean-living cousin to officers.
Peter Warren Smith gave police the name of a cousin who had no previous convictions.
But he became unstuck when he tried it a second time.
While he gave the same officer the same false name, the officer became suspicious when he had a bank card in the name of P. Smith on him.
Checks were made and his true identity was discovered.
Smith, 42, of Y Wern, Wrexham, admitted doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice, two thefts and failing to answer his bail on an earlier occasion.
He was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Judge Peter Heywood placed him on supervision for 18 months and sent him on a drug rehabilitation course.
Mr Heywood said perverting the course of justice “strikes at the very heart of the criminal justice system”.
Invariably such offences led to immediate custody.
If Smith’s actions had led to the arrest of an innocent man being arrested then he would have gone to prison.
But he said Smith “had a whole host” of problems which needed to be addressed.
Sarah Morgan, prosecuting, said Smith stole joints of meat from Asda in Wrexham in September of last year.
He was detained and gave the name of his cousin, who had no convictions, and was given a fixed penalty ticket in his cousin’s name.
The same officer dealt with him when he was caught stealing razor blades from Boots at Wrexham in January.
Smith provided the same false name but the officer was suspicious and checks were made which revealed his true identity.
Interviewed, Smith said he was anxious not to be held in custody and gave the name of a person who had not been in any trouble, knowing that he would receive a fixed penalty ticket.
He had previous convictions for 37 offences, including dishonesty.
Henry Hills, defending, said he accepted the offences crossed the custody threshold but he urged in the circumstances the sentence could be properly suspended.