A MAN has appeared at court for what his solicitor dubbed as the "worst crime" he has dealt with in 20 years.

Christopher Lee Walling, 31, withdrew £220 cash from his bank account before ringing the police and claiming his bank card had been stolen.

However, police investigations quickly uncovered CCTV which showed the 31-year-old making the withdrawal at a Co-op store in County Durham.

John Garside, prosecuting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court, said: "The CCTV footage shows the defendant going to the store and carrying out the transaction. He was interviewed and confirmed that he was responsible for committing the offence of fraud."

Walling, of Durham Road, Bowburn, near Durham, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation on May 4, 2020. He has seven previous convictions including theft, ABH, attempted robbery and criminal damage.

The Bolton News: Christopher Lee Walling pictured after the hearing at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court

Robin Ford, mitigating, said: "This is the worst crime I have dealt with in 20 years. I have asked him how long he thought it would be before police realised and he said 'not long'. This was a particularly foolish and stupid offence which had no chance of success."

Walling was given a conditional discharge for nine months. He must also pay £220 compensation to his bank, £85 costs and £22 victim surcharge.