Riot police fraud followed by thousands on Twitter gets 5 years: British police

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A British man whose fake "Metropolitan riot policeman" persona got him a column in The Telegraph and thousands of followers on Twitter during last year's violent rioting has been given a five-year jail sentence, according to the Croydon Guardian

Ellis Ward, 29, admitted to 18 charges of fraud, including conning various women out of tens of thousands of pounds and posing as an Army major wounded in Iraq, said the Press Gazette.

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Ward had some 3,000 followers tracking his "riot" tweets during the unrest, including newspapers, said the Croydon Guardian

"You engaged yourself in a deception of quite staggering complexity," Judge Peter Ralls QC told the young man at the Winchester Crown Court.

Even the Telegraph was "duped," said the Press Gazette, adding: 

The paper is understood to have paid him £600 for his article about the riots, in which he wrote: “I have clocked up around 125 hours, too many of them being pelted by stones, petrol bombs and, in one case, in the chaos of it all, by a 4ft ornamental palm tree.”

He also kept up a blog pretending to be an "Inspector Winter" reporting from the frontlines of violence in Croydon and Tottenham, said the Croydon Guardian

He was briefly held on fraud charges in 2009 and had been on the run for the past two years, according to the paper