A MAN who bought more than £1,400 of forged currency as a “drunken prank” has been spared jail.

Alexander Mills, of Richmond Park Road, Bournemouth, clubbed together with friends to spend £80 on the notes at nightspot The Winchester in Poole Hill, a court heard.

He then used one £20 at the Grosvenor Casino in Westover Road, where staff realised the note was counterfeit and called police.

At Bournemouth Crown Court on August 8, the 22-year-old – who admitted tendering a counterfeit note, custody of a counterfeit note and possession of a controlled drug of Class A – was handed a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Mitigating, Leslie Smith said Mills had failed to realise the seriousness of the offence. “Regretfully, he was in the company of three friends and very drunk at The Winchester when an acquaintance offers them counterfeit notes for £80,” he said.

“It sadly leads to him making a foolish decision which Mr Mills is now paying for.”

He said the defendant hasn’t consumed alcohol or cocaine since his arrest following the offence in April this year.

Judge Oba Nsugbe said Mills had committed “serious offences”.

“The facts are that on April 10 you were found to be passing a counterfeit £20 note in payment for drinks,” he said. “Police were called and following a search of your home address, further notes were found – seven in all – and a quantity of drugs that I understand you paid something like £700 for.”

He added that Mills was “flirting with a long sentence of imprisonment”, and said: “When you place counterfeit money into the system, it has the effect of corrupting it. It is extremely difficult to trace and there are serious consequences for those in business.”