A MAN tried to dupe a North-East university into giving him a law degree by pretending he was a former student who had undergone a sex change.

Durham University says it now has to insist on additional identification to replace degree documents after Nathan Hogg tried to get the degree by claiming to be a former student.

The 30-year-old, from Blyth in Northumberland, pretended to be a woman who had secured a law degree from Durham and claimed she was having gender reassignment, asking the university to provide another certificate in her new name – Nathan Hogg.

Hogg, who was given a 12-month community order after he pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by false representation, told South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court he was depressed and carried out the ruse to make himself "feel better" but had not used the information or benefited financially.

The court heard he had obtained the woman's details from social media networking site LinkedIn and had contacted the university.

Magistrates were told that Hogg, of Columbia Terrace, had gone to "some effort" to further the fraud and had given the university a document to back up the claim.

The offence took place between December 2018 and June this year and was reported to the police by Durham University after the woman got in touch to ask for a reference and it became clear she was not trying to change her name.

Following the hearing, Professor Alan Houston, Vice-Provost for Education at Durham University, said: “We promptly informed the police upon becoming aware of this matter.

"We have since reviewed our procedures for issuing replacement degree documents and now require additional confirmation of identity.”

Hogg, who has no previous convictions, will have to carry out 120 hours of work over the next 12 months and was told to pay £500 in compensation.