Fake victim in court

An Albury man got so desperate for cash that he made-up a tale of being the victim of an armed robbery.

Thomas John Collis embarked on the ruse after being knocked back by Centrelink for emergency relief payments.

The 25-year-old had based the false scenario on media reports of an armed robbery in Stanley Street, Albury, back in February.

Collis had claimed he had a knife pointed to his chest.

He pleaded guilty in Albury Local Court this week to false report resulting in a police investigation and two charges of attempt to dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception.

Magistrate Michael Crompton told Collis, who was not legally represented, that the first charge was especially serious.That meant he had decided to have Collis assessed for a community service order.

The court was told that Collis made a report to police on February 28 via the NSW Police Assistance Line stating he had lost his wallet, which contained his St George Bank debit card and $170 in cash.

Collis then went to Centrelink to apply for a crisis payment, but this was rejected.

He contacted Centrelink again on March 2 to request an “urgent payment”, claiming his wallet was stolen. He did the same again the following day, but this time he said the wallet was lost.

Collis went to Albury police on March 17 about 7.30am to report having been robbed while he walked along Stanley Street 90 minutes earlier. He claimed a man armed with a large knife threatened him then stole his wallet.

Collis then gave police a detailed description of the fictitious offender.

With that Albury detectives were notified. One spoke to Collis, who provided a brief version of events.

Police said Collis described how the robber pulled out the hunting knife and held the tip of the blade about 20 to 30 centimetres from his chest.

“As a result of this information, general duties officers were tasked to patrol the surrounding areas of Stanley Street and two detectives commenced a canvas of Stanley Street and other streets in the vicinity.”

Collis will be sentenced on October 23.