James Lattimer
James Lattimer Image Credit: AFP

London: It is one of the most sought-after and exclusive places to watch sport in the whole world - the member's pavilion at the prestigious Lord's Cricket Ground.

But a businessman who used a dead man's prized membership card to get into the famous London sporting venue, which is more than 200 years old, was on Wednesday fined £10,000 for his deception.

James Lattimer avoided jail but judge Michael Grieve told him his actions were "despicable".

Southwark Crown Court in south London was told the 51-year-old put his photograph onto a card he had bought on eBay which belonged to a member who died in 2014.

He then bought a general ticket to enter the ground but carried the card to get into the exclusive pavilion, while also wearing the stripy red and gold "egg-and-bacon" tie favoured by members.

Lattimer though was stopped by security. He later pleaded guilty to fraud in November.

The court heard that Lord's membership is "very sought-after". It costs £1,000 ($1,285) to become a member, with an additional £600 annual fee.

There is also a 29-year waiting list for membership with 12,000 people on it, the court heard.

Sentencing, judge Grieve said: "The use of a deceased person's identity for any purpose is despicable and likely to cause great distress to (their) relatives."

He added: "The forged document was your passport to a prestigious world and the best seats in the ground.

"What you gained was very sought after.

"You acquired the privilege people wait half a lifetime to acquire."

Lattimer, from Bournemouth in southern England, stood in the dock and did not react as he was handed a 10-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was told he must also pay a £10,000 fine as well as prosecution costs of £425, and carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

The judge acknowledged Lattimer, who runs a corporate cleaning company, had been "very publicly disgraced" over the offence.

Jonas Milner, representing Lattimer, argued his client's fraud had been "an unattractive and naive ploy by a cricket fan who let his desperation to experience the pavilion get the better of him".