Lancashire

Friends actor David Schwimmer lookalike thief jailed

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Media captionAbdulah Husseini (left) was parodied by David Schwimmer on Twitter

A lookalike of Friends actor David Schwimmer has been jailed for theft and fraud offences.

A CCTV image of Abdulah Husseini, 36, clutching a crate of beer went viral after police posted it in an appeal to trace him in October.

Husseini, who was described in court as a "wandering, nomadic thief", used a stolen bank card to make or attempt to make fraudulent purchases in Blackpool.

He was jailed for nine months at Burnley Crown Court on Thursday.

Image copyright Blackpool Police
Image caption Judge Dodd told Husseini he had an "appalling criminal history"

Husseini, described by Judge Sara Dodd as "an habitual thief", had walked into a restaurant in the Lancashire resort and swiped a wallet from a customer's jacket while he was away from his table.

He then made two purchases at nearby stores using a card from the wallet before CCTV showed him carrying cans of beers to the till at an Iceland store, the court heard.

A month later, Blackpool Police posted the CCTV image on its Facebook page.

The post went viral with more than 11m shares and 30,000 comments as members of the public pointed out the suspect's likeness to Friends character Ross Geller.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The jacket was taken from a restaurant in Blackpool's town centre

Schwimmer responded with a video on Twitter and Instagram in which the star was seen furtively glancing at a camera as he walked through a convenience store clutching cans of beer.

"Officers, I swear it wasn't me," he said in an accompanying post.

Husseini, an Iranian national from Slough, denied the offences but he was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial of one count of theft and four counts of fraud by false representation.

The court heard he has 32 previous convictions for 60 offences since 2008, including 27 offences for theft and dishonesty.

In mitigation, his barrister, Rebecca Filletti, said her client had problems with drugs but had made "significant efforts" to overcome his addiction while in custody.

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