A suspect who gave false details when detained by police for alleged shop theft could have put in jeopardy an innocent man’s bid to extend his work visa in Australia, a court heard.

Police were alerted after the theft of £93-worth of cleaning items by two men acting suspiciously at Tesco, in North Road, Durham, on June 2.

A description of the suspects was passed on to police, leading to an officer detaining two men on a “stop and search” nearby.

The stolen items were recovered a short distance away, and one of the detained pair, defendant Kevin Herron, gave details purporting to be a man unconnected with the incident.

The Northern Echo: Kevin Herron gave a false name when arrested

Both of the detained men were taken to Durham City Police Station, but Herron was unable to be finger-printed as one hand was in a plaster cast and he claimed to have nerve damage in the other.

But when interviewed he maintained his claim to be the man whose name he previously gave.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court that some time later the mother of the man whose name was put forward by Herron contacted the police in Durham.

She told them her son, who knew Herron some time ago, was in Australia, including at the time of the Tesco offence.

He was going through the process of renewing his visa to enable him to continue to live and work in Australia.

She was concerned it could impact her son’s ability to extend his stay in Australia.

Miss Khan said an officer saw Herron in Claypath, Durham, on October 13 and arrested him on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. He made no reply.

In a victim statement read to the court the man falsely named by Harron said he moved to Australia in 2018 and was awaiting a new visa.

He said should Australian immigration ask for police checks it could, “completely ruin my life”.

Herron, 32, who at the time of the offence was said to be care/of the Travelodge hotel in Station Lane, Durham, admitted charges of doing an act tending or intended to pervert the course of justice and shop theft, when he appeared at Durham Crown Court earlier this month.

He appeared at the crown court hearing in Newcastle via video link from Durham Prison, where he is being detained on remand.

Herron is also facing sentence for another theft from Tesco, of two boxes of razors, worth £32, on September 4, plus breaching a dispersal order, as part of an anti-social behaviour order, prohibiting him from entering the Market Place, an offence committed on October 10, and breaching a restraining order, forbidding him from going to his grandparents’ address in Sunderland, on October 23.

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As the offences put him in breach of a community order previously imposed by Judge Amanda Rippon, she said it would require breach proceedings to be brought by the Crown.

She adjourned the hearing with a view to passing sentence on all the offences early in the New Year.

Herron was remanded to remain in custody in the meantime, pending sentence on January 15.