Hartlepool man arrested over fake cashpoint robbery claim

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A man was arrested after falsely reporting he had been robbed on the way home.

Arron Rooney dialled 999 to tell police he had been attacked and robbed at a cashpoint, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

“He claimed there were two assailants,” said Catherine Hannah, prosecuting. “Rooney said he had been hit on the head as he withdrew money from a cashpoint outside a post office.

“He told the operator the two men had run off with his money.”

The court heard Rooney agreed to wait at the phone box from which he was calling for the police to arrive.

“Officers did arrive after a short time,” added Ms Hannah. “Rooney repeated the account, but they were almost immediately suspicious of it. When the officers challenged Rooney, he admitted he had made it all up.

“He repeated the admission at the police station.”

Rooney, 23, of Firby Close, Hartlepool, admitted sending a false message over a public communications network with the intention of causing a nuisance.

Dave Smith, defending, said in mitigation: “Without being unkind to Mr Rooney, he is of very low intelligence.

“I have explained to him that while he didn’t do a great deal of harm directly, he may have prevented the officers from attending to someone in genuine need.

“He doesn’t know why he made the 999 call, but having made it found himself caught in a lie that he couldn’t get out of.

“Mr Rooney had taken a drink that night, but he doesn’t have a drink problem in the way that so many before these courts do.

“He lives with his aunt, and has been making some efforts to find a job.”

The magistrates sentenced Rooney to a conditional discharge of 12 months, and ordered him to pay £250 in costs and court surcharges.