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'Sherlock' conman makes elementary mistake

Sky News logo Sky News 20/10/2017
Aaron Cowan wore a fake police badge © PA Aaron Cowan wore a fake police badge

A conman who stole thousands of pounds while using a name from the Sherlock Holmes stories has been jailed for five years.

Aaron Cowan called himself Greg Lestrade - the name of the police inspector in the modern TV depiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective series, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

The 24-year-old wore a fake police badge as he targeted shops in Kent in March and April.

At Corals bookmakers in Margate, he used a pipette as he pretended to test for fraudulent bank notes, walking away with £4,840.

Kent Police said he later went back and took the shop's CCTV hard drive, claiming it would help his investigation.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle © Getty Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In another incident, he seized a second-hand iPhone from a mobile phone shop, telling staff it had been stolen in a burglary before selling it on for £340.

Cowan, from Hawkinge in Kent, was arrested after a victim found his name suspicious and reported him to police.

When they searched his home, officers found the fake ID badge, evidence bags and cash.

He pleaded guilty to six charges of dishonestly making a false representation for gain, and was handed five consecutive 12-month prison terms and a six-month concurrent sentence at Canterbury Crown Court.

Inspector Lestrade is described in The Boscombe Valley Mystery as "a lean, ferret-like man, furtive and sly-looking".

Detective Constable Gareth Foreman said: "We are unsure why he chose such a distinctive name but it transpired to be his downfall.

"In the words of Sherlock Holmes himself, what one man can invent, another can discover."

Video: Actors Who've Played Sherlock Holmes (Wochit)

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