The men accused of stealing nearly $380,000 (GBP200,000) from award-winning British comic Ricky Gervais have been found guilty.

The thieves stole the money to buy 27 kilograms (60 pounds) of gold from bullion dealer ANTHONY BAIRD, who called police after someone claiming to be Gervais placed a large order with his company.

In a move to protect their true identities, the fraudsters altered a dead pensioner's passport with a picture of the actor's THE OFFICE TV character David Brent, copied from a DVD cover of the cult series.

Of the five defendants - KENNETH SPEIGHT, SHARONJEET SNOBBER, MUSHTAQ JAVED, CRAIG REEVES and HARRY PEACH - Speight and Reeves have been convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud between 21 February and 8 April 2003.

They're currently in jail waiting to be sentenced.

Snobber and Peach were both cleared of any wrongdoing, but Javed faces a re-trial on two conspiracy counts.

23/03/2005 17:10