A deceitful conman stole computer pass codes from travel agents and booked £40,000 worth of freebie holidays across the world.

Adam Griffiths, 30, and a friend flew business class to Dubai and stayed in the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel on one of his fraudulent trips.

He claimed to work for "private military contractors" fighting so-called Islamic State, said he was involved with counter-terrorism work, and had connections with Scotland Yard.

But in fact he lived in a council flat in Swansea, south Wales.

Wales Online reports Griffiths admitted three counts of fraud and, on Friday, was jailed for two and a half years.

Judge Geraint Walters called Griffiths "something of a Walter Mitty character", in reference to the James Thurber novel about a man who lives a fantasy life.

The judge at Swansea Crown Court also described the case as "most unusual" and "disturbing".

Griffiths has convictions for impersonating a police officer and, in 2014, claimed to have caught the deadly disease Ebola while travelling in Africa.

The court heard that during May and June last year he was a regular visitor at the Tui travel agents in the Swansea’s Quadrant shopping centre.

Carina Hughes, prosecuting, said Griffiths became known as something of a "time waster" amongst staff for going in, boasting about his lifestyle of exotic holidays, celebrity friends and private jets, but never actually booking any holidays.

However, during one such visit he managed to get hold of some staff computer pass codes, and used them online to book almost £39,500 worth of trips.

He also visited the independent Swansea travel agents Burgess Travel in June, where he was again able to get hold of pass codes – in this case he ran up a £5,500 bill.

Miss Hughes said that one of the holidays he fraudulently booked involved him and a friend taking a "very extravagant" trip, which saw them fly business class to the exclusive seven star Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.

Griffiths would also post photographs on social media apparently showing a globe-trotter living a Champagne lifestyle.

But his travel frauds came to light when the invoice for the holiday booked with the Burgess code arrived at the firm’s Kingsway office – and staff realised they had not booked it.

Griffiths was arrested on September 5 and gave a no comment interview – but police found photos of his holidays on his phone.

The court heard Griffiths has 16 previous convictions for 28 offences including ones for violence, possession of Class A drugs, dishonesty, and public order matters.

But Andrew Evans, defending, said a psychiatrist had concluded his client was not suffering from any diagnosable psychiatric disorder, but it may be that he had "self-worth" issues.

He said Griffiths came from a family with "criminogenic tendencies", and had had a "difficult background" – and it was perhaps this that had led him to create a persona of somebody who was to be admired and respected.

Griffiths’ sentence was cut by 25% for his guilty plea.

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