FRAUDSTERS cashed stolen cheques for more than £4,000.

Terence Howarth, aged 23, admitted fraud, and Stevan Elliot, aged 18, admitted fraud and theft when they appeared at Bolton Crown Court.

The court heard the men agreed Elliot would pay a cheque for £270 into his account at the Royal Bank of Scotland, in Bolton, on December 6, 2011.

Two days later they returned and Elliot paid in a second cheque worth £4,000.

Staff became suspicious and cancelled both cheques, which belonged to a Mr Wilson.

The men returned to the bank later that day, asking why Elliot’s account was overdrawn.

Police were called and they were arrested.

The victim was not left out of pocket and police were unable to find out how the cheques were stolen.

Jonathan Dickinson, defending Elliot, said the teenager was 17 at the time and was “led astray” by his former friend.

Sentencing the men, Judge Charles Bloom, said: “Howarth, you came into possession of the stolen cheques and decided to use that for your own purpose. It doesn’t matter if you started the idea or Elliot started it.

“The bank would have been the ultimate victim.” Howarth was sentenced to supervision requirement for nine months, which will include an alcohol intervention programme.

Elliot was sentenced to a new direction activity requirement, to deter him from reoffending, and 120 hours of unpaid work.

He was kept outside the dock, away from his co-accused, due to the men falling out over the crime.