A MAN got a friend arrested after lying about being a victim of a bank card fraud.

Teesside Crown Court heard that more than 60 hours of police time was wasted investigating Andrew Pearce's false claims.

The 21-year-old was said to have panicked after handing over his card and pin number to another man on the understanding that a pay day loan he had requested would be paid into his account.

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Prosecuting, Rachel Masters said Pearce contacted police on January 9 last year, claiming that his card had been used fraudulently.

He also signed a statement saying that he had last used the card on Boxing Day 2012 and had not given anyone else his pin number or permission to use the card.

Enquiries subsequently revealed that at least two other individuals had used the card, causing Pearce to go overdrawn, while the defendant had been present himself during some of the transactions.

One man – a friend of the defendant's who had committed no offence - was arrested and spent time in custody as police attempted to get to the bottom of the 'fraud'.

Pearce, of Brigadene Close, Hartlepool, who admitted perverting the course of justice, eventually owned up and told police he had lied.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said: “He buried his head in the sand and allowed one of his friends to be arrested.

“In the end he had the courage to do the right thing.”

Recorder Toby Hedworth said he was just prepared to suspend a jail sentence on Pearce, even though he regarded it as a serious matter.

He gave Pearce a six month prison term, suspended for 12 months, and 150 hours unpaid work, telling him: “This is a chance, you won't get another one.”