A HAPLESS husband who was helping his wife at work ended up losing her money and creating a fake crime in a desperate bid to save her job.

Alex Jones dashed into a post office and told staff he had been robbed in the street and went on to give police a detailed description of the mugger.

But his story quickly unravelled when officers looked at closed-circuit television camera footage and there was no sign of the mystery assailant.

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Jones later admitted he had made up the tale after losing more than £1,700 – by leaving it on the roof of his car and forgetting where he put it.

The 30-year-old’s wife worked as a cash collector for a finance company and he was helping with the banking on a Saturday morning in September.

Teesside Crown Court heard that he told the staff in the post office in Willington, County Durham, that a bag containing £1,767 had been snatched.

Jones gave a five-page statement to police before the CCTV checks showed no robbery, and he was arrested for perverting the course of justice.

In an interview, he admitted making up the story to try to cover up his mistake, Jacqueline Edwards, prosecuting, told Judge John Walford.

David Callan, mitigating, said: “There was no realistic chance of anyone being arrested for this because the CCTV showed nothing happened.

“The police cottoned on to this story very quickly... this is a stupid case and a wasteful case in the sense that he wasted police time.

“He and his wife were trying to get their lives back together, working on behalf of this credit company, collecting money. He was helping out.

“He knew, as has happened, she would lose her job, and he came up with this ridiculous story, really on impulse. It was not premeditated.”

Jones, of Rosemead Avenue, in Crook, admitted perverting the course of justice and was given a community order with supervision.

Judge Walford also ordered him to carry out 175 hours of unpaid work after telling him: “It was not done to have anyone else arrested.

“I am prepared to accept that what motivated you to tell this stupid pack of lies was an earnest desire to protect your wife’s job and preserve that.

“Making up false stories to give to both the police and post office employees is always a serious matter, and I trust you realise that.”