Phillip Cunningham leaving Birmingham Magistrates Court (Image: Birmingham Live/BPM MEDIA)
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A music teacher has admitted he made a fake negative Covid-19 test certificate in an attempt to board a flight to Egypt.
Phillip Cunningham, 33, used a legitimate test result from earlier in the year but altered it to make it look like it was more up to date.
He presented the document in PDF format at Heathrow Airport, but an Egyptair worker spotted a missing digit and called the police, reports Birmingham Live.
Following the incident on May 4, the teacher from Kings Norton, Birmingham, admitted he sent police on a "wild goose chase".
Cunningham pleaded guilty to a forgery and counterfeit offence of making a false instrument at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Friday, June 4.
The teacher pleaded guilty to a forgery and counterfeit offence of making a false instrument
(Image: BPM Media)
Cunningham was granted bail and stated he was due to fly out of the country for work but would be back for the sentence hearing.
He confirmed he had since obtained an up to date negative test certificate.
Judge Briony Clarke criticised him for only confessing his con after "sending officers around the houses a bit".
Prosecutor Ros Butler said: "Police received a call to go to Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport and go to the check-in area for Egyptair.
Cunningham admitted sending police on a 'wild goose chase'
(Image: Birmingham Live/BPM MEDIA)
"Staff said a man presented what they believed was a fraudulent negative Covid-19 certificate.
"The airline member of staff noticed a digit was missing in the passport section."
Cunningham showed staff the certificate in a PDF document on his phone and claimed his bosses organised the test and sent him a copy of the result.
Police contacted the testing company which confirmed he had a negative test in February.
An Egyptair worker noticed there was a missing digit
But the company added he could not possibly have revisited the same test centre the day before his flight, on May 3, because they no longer subcontracted to his employer.
Ms Butler added: "He provided an account to officers at the scene.
"They made further enquiries and were not happy with the situation. He was arrested.
"He was interviewed at the police station and did go on to make a full admission. He admitted using a previous negative certificate and altering the date to make it look like a valid Covid-19 certificate.
"He said he had done this, he didn't want to lie and that he had sent officers on a wild goose chase. He had paid for a Covid-19 test before. He is a music teacher and was worried this could affect 'most of my life'.
"The situation escalated quicker than he expected."
The prosecutor stated there were "potentially very serious consequences" to the scam.
The judge stated it was a "very serious offence" but adjourned Cunningham's case until later this month in order for the probation service to assess him and write up a pre-sentence report.