A MAN convicted of impersonating a police officer at a Cheshire Oaks car showroom has asked for his appeal to be heard outside of Chester to avoid a conflict of interest.

Dr Alexei Luca Samuel Gabriel Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg, 43, will now likely have his case heard before a crown court judge in Liverpool.

This is because it emerged that the owner of the relevant Skoda showroom, Mark Mitchell, is also the High Sheriff of Cheshire and is known to the judges in Chester.

The bizarre situation arose as the appeal hearing at Chester Crown Court got underway on Friday (July 5).

Upon hearing the name of the showroom, Judge Simon Berkson immediately alerted defence barrister Jemma Gordon to the connection between Chester judges and Mr Mitchell.

He also said that he had attended the same primary school as the Mitchell Skoda owner.

Asked how he would like to proceed, Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg - who used to go by the name of Lee Morris - said he did not believe the connection to the sheriff would sway the mind of any city judge but asked that the case be held elsewhere.

He also thanked Judge Berkson for raising the issue.

The defendant, of Sarn Lane, Caergwrle, Flintshire, was handed a curfew order after being found guilty of the offence by Chester magistrates following a trial in July last year.

Described as a “fantasist”, the court heard that Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg had turned up at the showroom in Ellesmere Port requesting a test-drive while dressed in body armour.

The prosecution said he had claimed to be a newly appointed chief inspector at Cheshire Police in need of a fast pursuit vehicle.

He took one of the cars for a spin but when he failed to return after half an hour the suspicious salesman contacted police to check the story.

Sporting a bodycam, spray canister and high-rank epaulettes on his uniform, Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg was quickly intercepted and arrested on Hoole Road, Chester, on April 8, 2017.

He always denied any wrongdoing claiming he was simply a collector of memorabilia and had not intended to deceive anyone.

At his sentencing hearing in October he apologised to magistrates and assured them he was “extremely remorseful”.

His solicitor, Wendy Shurrock, told the court her client came across as a “pleasant, articulate and educated” man who also “presents as a fantasist”.

“He is genuinely remorseful and he does understand that this is behaviour that is not acceptable,” she said at the time. “He accepts that sometimes he exaggerates.”

Police officers who searched his home were said to have discovered other items including a North Wales Police cap, radios, a paramedic’s uniform and Leeds City police badges.

During his trial, Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg said he had once worked as a special constable with North Wales Police and had special permission to wear body armour in public.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service said enquiries had been made with the force and there was “no trace” that he had ever worked with them.

He was sentenced to a 26-week curfew order meaning he must stay indoors at his home address, where he lives with his mother, between the hours of 7pm and 7am.

Von Sonderburg-Glucksburg was also ordered to pay £620 in court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.