A FRAUDSTER’S bid to use a bogus prescription backfired because eagle-eyed pharmacy staff had been alerted to fakes in a work WhatsApp group chat, a court heard.

Jake Godber, 24, made his doomed attempt to acquire diazepam on September 13.

Godber went into the Well pharmacy on Maude Street, Kendal, at around 4.25pm. At the counter, he produced a prescription to a woman working behind the counter.

Prosecutor Lee Dacre told Carlisle Magistrates’ Court: “When she looked at the prescription she recognised it was fraudulent as details (of such fakes) had been circulated on a pharmacy WhatsApp group.

“She told a colleague quietly that she thought it was a forgery and to keep the defendant busy.

“When she came back to the counter she saw the defendant had left with the police chasing after him.”

As he appeared in court,  Godber admitted an offence of fraud by false representation having sought to make a gain, namely a quantity of diazepam.

Magistrates heard he had three previous convictions for 11 offences.

Godber, of Orton Road, Carlisle, had been sentenced earlier this year — and been given a community order — for using fake prescriptions to gain medication for himself.

On that occasion, he had repeatedly been rebuffed while making eight attempts on seven different dates to commit fraud at pharmacies across Cumbria. This occurred at Carlisle, Penrith, Workington and even out of county at Gateshead’s Metro Centre.

As with his most recent crime, Godber was thwarted by alert pharmacy staff.

Andrew Gurney, defending, said Godber had some significant mental health problems. He had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome as a child and, more recently, with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

But in relation to the latter, there were delays of several months in prescribing medication. As a result, he suffered from anxiety and he had tried to obtain the diazepam.

From the dock, Godber told magistrates: “It was for personal use.”

Giving a little more detail about the Kendal fraud, his lawyer, Andrew Gurney, said: “A friend sent him a screenshot of a prescription to him over the phone to obtain diazepam.

“It isn’t a sophisticated fraud by any means and *(the prescription) was quite clearly a fake.”

Magistrates suspended a 16-week prison sentence for 12 months, noting that Godber had been subject to a community order at the time of his latest offence.

Godber must complete work with the probation service aimed at curbing his criminal conduct.

“We believe there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation,” said lead magistrate Keith Southward. But he told Godber: “If you break any of the requirements or are convicted of another offence you can expect to serve this prison sentence.”