When a Rugby man who ran out of a store with his arms full of clothing was cornered after running into a dead-end alleyway, he was found to have a wad of counterfeit £20 notes.
Then while he was on bail, hapless Maciej Wlodyka carried out a burglary – at the offices of a security firm whose director was immediately alerted by their alarm system.
And at Warwick Crown Court, Wlodyka, 29, of Biart Place, Rugby, was jailed for 14 months after pleading guilty to theft, burglary and possessing counterfeit currency.
Prosecutor Aliya Rashid said that in January Wlodyka had been given a conditional discharge for 12 months after breaking into an office, which he said he did in order to sleep there.
In April he went into the men’s department of the TK Maxx store in Watford, Hertfordshire, where he selected 15 items of clothing and accessories before simply walking out with them in his arms.
As soon as he got outside he began to run, with security staff giving chase, and they cornered him after he ran into a dead-end alleyway.
Wlodyka began to struggle, but an off-duty policeman came to assist the security staff to restrain him.
And when Wlodyka was then searched he had an envelope in his jacket which contained £360 in counterfeit £20 notes.
Mrs Rashid pointed out that they were easily identifiable as fakes because the colouring was poor and the paper was of poor quality.
Wlodyka was granted bail, and a few weeks later the alarm of a security company based at the Dunsmore Business Centre in Spring Street, Rugby, was activated and the director of the company received an automatic text notification.
When the police arrived they heard a loud banging from the rear of the premises, and Wlodyka was seen jumping from a window into an alleyway.
Officers shouted at him to stop, but he jumped over a wall into a neighbouring garden and dangerously climbed over the roof of a greenhouse in an attempt to get away, but was caught.
Inside the building Wlodyka had used a step ladder to break into the security firm’s office by smashing ceiling tiles over the door, causing £250 worth of damage.
Papers had been strewn around the office and he had opened mail, but had left without taking anything when the police arrived, added Mrs Rashid.
Richard Franck, defending, said: “He has been working hard in this country for eight years as a warehouse operative and renting his own accommodation.
“But it all fell apart in January when he lost his job. The company was cutting back and he was no longer required and, because he worked through an agency, there was no redundancy payment.
“He suffers from a gambling addiction which, while employed, he was managing. He lost his accommodation and ended up living with a friend.”
Mr Franck said Wlodyka had found the envelope of counterfeit cash near some bins he was searching for food or something he could sell while visiting Derby.
But that was rejected by Judge Richard Griffith-Jones who commented: “I do not accept that explanation. It seems to me to be inherently unlikely. I think he is being used by others to execute crime.”
Sentencing Wlodyka, Judge Griffith-Jones told him: “You are a young man, you have come to this country from Poland, and you have worked hard; but for some reason you ended up being down on your luck.
“I believe you are someone who has very probably been exploited, but you have not helped the probation service or me with a detailed and honest account.”
Of the counterfeit currency the judge told him: “That is a very serious offence. It is serious because it damages confidence in commercial activity.
“You then committed a night-time burglary of commercial premises, ironically a security guard business which had very sophisticated alarms and security which meant that you were caught at the scene.”