A teenager has been spared a jail sentence after he pretended to be a police officer and issued people with fake on-the-spot fines.
18-year-old Mason Crozier from Wythenshawe, south Manchester, donned a police uniform and carried a false warrant card with the name of ‘PC Dale Thomas’.
Manchester Crown Court heard how Crozier targeted people at random for supposed criminal offences, sometimes joined by an accomplice who has yet to be traced.
Crozier admitted to three counts of impersonating a police officer, as well as one count of fraud. The teenager, who lost his mother as a baby and whose father is serving a prison sentence for drug offences, has been spared jail.
Prosecutor Duncan Wilcox told the court how the first offence took place on May 26, 2019, when Crozier approached a taxi driver on Oxford Road, Manchester.
Crozier told the driver he had committed a traffic offence and proceeded to demand an on-the-spot £45 fine. The victim later stated Crozier had worn ‘policeman-like clothing’, and had produced an ID card claiming he was ‘PC Dale Thomas’ of British Transport Police (BTP).
Mr Wilcox said:
The victim was told if he went to court he would face a higher fine.
He said the victim could get points, or even lose his licence.
The victim was unconvinced by Crozier’s credentials, and called BTP while Crozier was still at the scene. When informed what Crozier had said was ‘simply wasn’t true’, the victim took a photo of him before he fled the scene.
Later that same day, Crozier approached a 16-year-old boy in a ginnel and reportedly ‘found a cannabis grinder on him’.
Crozier told the boy to pay a £30 fine. When he didn’t have the cash, Crozier took him to the victim’s grandfather’s house in handcuffs. The grandfather allowed Crozier – who was again wearing a fake uniform – into his house and gave him £24, with the boy handing over a further £6.
However, the grandfather found the situation to be suspicious. For example, the card Crozier left behind detailed his base as being Longsight police station, but it had been spelt incorrectly. Officers were later able to use this card to match Crozier’s fingerprints.
The third and final incident occurred on May 29 when Crozier and an accomplice targeted a woman who had been attending the Spice Girls gig at the Etihad Stadium.
The woman had needed to use the toilet and had attempted to use the facilities at Asda but, after finding the supermarket closed, relieved herself in some bushes outside. It was then she was approached by Crozier and another man, both posing as police officers.
Mr Wilcox said:
She was told she couldn’t do that.
The defendant told the victim she had to pay an on the spot fine of £30.
The woman didn’t have any money, leading the two men to march her to a cash point. She began to get distressed at this point, causing another member of the public to intervene and advise the victim to ask for ID.
Once again, Crozier showed a card claiming to be PC Thomas, however the victim refused to pay up. She left the scene and later reported the incident to the police.
Crozier was quickly tracked down to the Benchill address where he lives with his grandmother, and arrested.
Officers discovered the fake uniform, warrant card, two pairs of handcuffs and blue latex gloves in his room.
Manchester Crown Court heard he had been convicted of similar matters in 2017 after posing as a fake car buyer.
Tom McKail, defending, said his client’s offences showed ‘a lack of sophistication’ demonstrated by the fact none of his victims handed over any money.
Crozier was sentenced to a two-year intensive community order; 30 hours of rehabilitation activity; and 30 hours of unpaid work as well as a victim surcharge.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.