A CROOK who used a 13-year-old boy to pass off fake £20 notes at the German Christmas market in Leeds has been jailed.
Anthony Brazil, 56, was caught when a stall holder at the Millennium Square market became suspicious when the youngster handed over a counterfeit note to pay for £1.50 worth of sweets at a stall.
Brazil was followed by the stall holder and later detained by security and found in possession of £200 worth of fake notes.
Leeds Crown Court heard Brazil had travelled with the boy from Harrogate to Leeds on November 16 last year to carry out the deception.
Brazil was arrested and released on bail but travelled to the Christmas market in Lincoln three weeks later where he again targeted stall holders.
Dale Brook, prosecuting, said Brazil purchased low value items such as cheese, hot chocolate and chutney before handing over counterfeit notes and pocketing the change.
Brazil was a refused service by some of the stall holders who became suspicious.
Police were contacted and he was again found in possession of £200 worth of fake notes.
Brazil, of Forrest Road, Greenhow Hill, Harrogate, initially tried to claim that he had no knowledge the currency was fake.
He later pleaded guilty to nine offences of tendering counterfeit currency and two of having control of a counterfeit notes with intent.
The court heard Brazil has six previous convictions.
He was jailed for three months in 2012 for shoplifting offences.
Anthony Sugare, mitigating, said Brazil had been duped into receiving the fake notes after he bought some items at an auction in Harrogate a day before the offences in Leeds.
Mr Sugare said Brazil had pleaded guilty to the offences at the earliest offences but had not been able to attend earlier court hearings because of ill health.
He added that Brazil was suffering from a disability and would struggle to complete a prison sentence.
Jailing Brazil for 16 months, judge James Spencer, QC, said: “You are 56 years of age and you have served a prison sentence in the past for dishonesty.
“To possess counterfeit notes is much more serious than your previous offending.