A MAN has been convicted of impersonating a police officer after he turned up at a car showroom requesting a test-drive while dressed in body armour.

Dr Alexei Luca Samuel Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg, 41, of Sarn Lane, Caergwrle, Flintshire, was also sporting a bodycam, spray canister and high-rank epaulettes on his uniform.

Carrying a police hat – which he later admitted he bought on eBay - he told the salesman he was a newly appointed chief inspector and was looking to buy a car that could be used as a pursuit vehicle.

He drove off in a new Skoda Superb but an hour later the employee became suspicious and called the Cheshire Police non-emergency number to check Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg’s story.

When it turned out to be untrue, armed police were scrambled and three vehicles intercepted the defendant on Hoole Road in Chester.

During a trial at Chester Magistrates Court, Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg claimed he was a collector of memorabilia and had not intended to deceive anyone.

He said he once worked as a special constable with North Wales Police – but arresting officer Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham said he had made enquiries and there was no record of this.

The defendant, who said he worked occasionally as a Rabbi, also claimed he had special permission from North Wales Police to wear body armour as he had been a victim of hate crime in the past.

Magistrates took around 20 minutes to return a guilty verdict, describing Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg’s version of events as “fanciful recollections”.

The case was adjourned until next month while the Probation Service compiles a pre-sentence report on him.

During the hearing, car salesman David Alexander said the defendant had arrived at the Mitchell Skoda showroom at Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port, on the morning of April 8 last year in full police uniform.

“He was interested in buying a car and had recently been promoted to chief inspector of the police,” Mr Alexander told the court.

“He said he had headed up the department that was in relation to religiously motivated hate crime and that he had been a victim himself.

“He said he was there to test drive a car with a view to buying it and that the car was going to be used as a response vehicle and would later be refitted with police livery.”

However, Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg denied saying this, claiming he had made it clear he was looking to buy a car for his mother through the Motability scheme.

“I totally deny that,” he said. “The only thing that I can recall us talking about is the hate crime issue.

“I only ever intended for him to think of me as a customer. I never purported to be anybody other than who I am myself.”

He and defence barrister Hannah Horton also claimed he had previously made a complaint against Mr Alexander, who must have been fabricating the story in revenge.

The defendant said he wore the body armour with permission from the police and that the other garments were not police-issue.

“I do collect memorabilia, as do many people,” he said.

DS Needham told the court that when he later stopped Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg in Hoole and asked why he was wearing body armour, he told him he was an “on-call medical doctor” and had kept the hat from his days as a special constable.

However, the defendant later denied saying both of these things, claiming he had bought the cap on eBay.

Another responding officer, PC Matt Liddy, told the court Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg had clearly been wearing what he assumed as a police uniform.

Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg told the court he had changed his name several times, and had actually been known as Lee Morris when he worked as a special constable around 20 years ago.

He claimed he had received death threats due to intelligence he provided on drugs offences in the Caergwrle area.