A MAN who spent 20 years pretending to be a Radio France journalist so that he could meet his favourite stars has been convicted of fraud and identity theft.
The 55-year-old secured press passes for some of France's biggest music events by claiming to work for France Culture.
Transport, hotel and food bills were paid by the event organisers - but he opted to travel second-class and stay in budget hotels to avoid suspicion.
It was not until 2010 when he was caught when an official at a festival in Lorient asked to see his press card.
Described in court as a loner suffering from anxiety, he told Paris criminal court that meeting idols such as Alain Souchon, Julien Clerc and Maxime Le Forestier gave him a much-needed psychological boost.
He said he would often listen back to his taped interviews as a souvenir and kept extensive press cuttings and photos in his house of his favourite personalities.
The man said he had always wanted to become a journalist and did not set out to cause any harm to anybody.
The court ordered him to pay €2,500 in damages and legal fees to Radio France. Prosecutors had also called for a three-month suspended prison sentence.
Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Flickr