A TEENAGE conman who stole three cars while pretending to be a police officer has been sent to prison.

Mason Crozier used a fake warrant card so people would trust him then never paid the money.

The 19-year-old appeared at Manchester Crown Court to be sentenced for fraud and driving charges and was blasted as ‘pathetic’ by judge Anthony Cross.

Frances Willmott, prosecuting, told the court how in September, Crozier approached Carl Povey, a retired man in Warrington who was selling his Ford Focus through Gumtree.

Warrington Guardian: Crozier will serve two-and-a-half years in a youth detention centreCrozier will serve two-and-a-half years in a youth detention centre

She said: “The car was listed for £4,000 and Crozier showed Mr Povey a fake bank transfer which appeared to indicate that a payment had been made.

“Crozier also handed Mr Povey a fake British Transport Police warrant card and told him he was a police officer.

“Mr Povey gave Crozier the car and later, he received a message from the defendant asking if the money had cleared.”

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Crozier, who was home-schooled, showed his victim another fake transaction for £4,000.

Warrington Guardian: Mason Crozier Mason Crozier

The following day, Mr Povey was contacted by a garage in Liverpool who told him his Ford Focus had been part exchanged for a BMW.

Mr Povey then reported his Ford Focus as stolen to police.

The garage said they would give him £2,000 for the car which left Mr Povey at a £2,000 loss.

In a victim impact statement, he said the incident had left him ‘having sleepless nights’ worrying about the money and whether the defendant would show up at his house again.

Mr Povey’s wife was also receiving treatment in hospital at the time and this created added stress for the family.

Two days later, Crozier attended a car garage in Sheffield with the BMW and introduced himself to the salesman as a police officer, showing him a fake ID card.

He told them he wanted £3,500 for the BMW and a salesman said he would buy it himself, rather than the garage.

Crozier, of Gladeside Road in Wythenshawe, showed him false documents which said he owned the BMW and the man transferred him £3,610 – the extra money for a taxi back to Manchester.

The defendant then went to Dewsbury to test drive an Audi A5 at a garage and told the salesman he was a police officer.

Warrington Guardian: Mason CrozierMason Crozier

Crozier said he would buy the Audi for £5,000 and provided a false bank statement showing a £6,040 transfer had been made.

He bragged that ‘a perk of the job’ as a police officer was that he could add insurance and tax himself later on.

The money never arrived and Crozier ‘expressed confusion’ when the garage contacted him.

He told them he would send the cash but never did.

On October 2, the stolen Audi was spotted in Manchester by a police officer and Crozier was tracked by a police dog.

Crozier told the policeman he was moving the car for a friend and was unable to show he had insurance or a licence.

Last year, Crozier committed similar offences in Manchester where he issued people with bogus on-the-spot fines while pretending to be a policeman.

Thomas McKail, defending, told the judge: “You put your trust in him and he threw it back in your face.

“He is a very intelligent young man but has not put that to good use. His father has spent most of Crozier’s life in prison and he has expressed that he does not want the same for himself.

“The crimes were financially motivated – he said he was working as a roofer. He wanted money quickly but did not want to work for it.

“There was a lack of sophistication and a naivety as he gave Mr Povey his full name, address and phone number.

“He has expressed remorse and is working towards his GCSEs in prison.”

Judge Anthony Cross branded Crozier ‘pathetic’ after he failed to carry out the unpaid work and requirements of a community order, he was given last time.

The judge said: “You are a persuasive young conman who, unless learns a lesson now, will continue committing fraud.

“You fooled your probation officer and you fooled me.

“You are too clever; you were given the chance to put that intelligence towards a good life.

“Last time I asked you if you wanted the same life as your father and you said ‘no’.

“I was told to give you a chance in October for a breach of your previous offending, but you knew that you had since been committing frauds in Warrington and Liverpool.

“You might celebrate defrauding people but you will be caught.

“You attacked the very cornerstones of our criminal justice system by impersonating a policeman and people will have less confidence in the police.”

Crozier was jailed for two-and-a-half years in a young offender’s institute.