A FRAUDSTER who attempted to walk out of a Poole bank with £27,300 in a plot 'almost like something from Dumb and Dumber' has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.

As reported, hapless Nikolay Lalav sent a series of panicked messages to his friend during the failed bid to con staff at NatWest on March 21 2018.

In response, the unnamed friend told him: "Pretend that you're crazy."

Lalev, of Thorpe Road in London, appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court for sentence last week after admitting a single count of fraud by false representation during an earlier hearing.

Prosecutors said the defendant, 47, was told to withdraw the cash on behalf of Bright World Guardianship Ltd. He was given a letter on headed notepaper by a man he knew only as 'Joe', who said he worked for the company.

A call was also made to staff at the bank before Lalev arrived to withdraw the funds. The caller said the defendant had permission to take the money. However, worried staff instead decided to alert police, and even stalled Lalev during his visit to allow officers to arrive.

Officers have not been able to track down either 'Joe' or Lalev's unnamed friend.

Ryan Dowding, mitigating for the defendant, argued at the earlier hearing that Lalev's role was not sophisticated, adding that he used his real name and even offered up his passport to bank staff.

"He appears to be the fall guy," Mr Dowding said, adding that the messages exchanged between the defendant and his friend are "almost like Dumb and Dumber".

"Mr Lalev says, 'I am worried'. His friend replies, 'It's all normal procedure. Don't worry'," Mr Dowding said.

"He says, 'My blood pressure is going higher. Police have arrived'.

"The friend says, 'Pretend that you're crazy'.

"This is not a sophisticated case."

Last week, Lalev was sentenced to a community order, under which he must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay an £85 surcharge and £85 costs.