Police became involved in a Benny Hill-style comical pursuit after they chased a man – who was flinging wads of fake bank notes behind him.
Paul Doherty, 30, ran off into woodland and abandoning his haul after he was approached by officers for passing the fake £20 notes.
He was given an eight-month jail term, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to possessing 11 counterfeit #20 notes.
Sentencing him Recorder Linford told him: “The seriousness is counterfeit currency strikes at the heart of the economy.
“The prosecution charged you with having counterfeit notes. That saves you from immediate custody, as passing a single note gets you 12 months.”
Bristol Crown Court heard that Doherty, from Withywood, Bristol, became nervous after police approached him at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta last year and ran off, chucking the notes behind him.
Julian Howells, prosecuting, said PC Matthew Bailey was hot on Doherty’s heels as he made off and Sergeant Lee Ashdown was able to collect up the counterfeit cash.
Once arrested Doherty told police he was given the notes by someone he knew and shortly after officers came up to him.
He said he had not spent the money, which he was not aware was fake, and threw it out of his pocket and ran.
Catherine Spedding, representing Doherty, said: “The person whom passed the notes was someone with Mr Doherty.
“Mr Doherty was not passing notes. Police followed both men and the other male was not prosecuted.
“He knew they were counterfeit and he knew he was in possession of them.”