A desperate heroin addict stole a bank card from an elderly woman’s purse in her home before using it to buy scratch cards.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on February 25 how Jonathan James, 38, of Cecil Road, Dronfield, was captured on CCTV at the woman’s home in Dronfield taking her purse before he removed the bank card and used it at McColl’s, at the Greendale Shopping Centre.
Prosecuting solicitor John Cooper said the victim’s daughter became suspicious about James after her mother thought she had lost her purse and following checks she discovered her mother’s bank card had been used during two transactions a nearby shop.
He said: “She confirmed with the bank that there were two transactions overnight at a local shop.
“CCTV installed at the home showed the defendant coming to the address and he was seen taking the purse from a bedroom and carrying it to the kitchen of the property and with his back to the woman he removed the bank card.
“He took the purse to the toilet and put the purse back down in the living room.”
The defendant was also seen wandering around looking into drawers and cupboards, according to Mr Cooper.
McColl’s confirmed there had been two transactions after James had asked for three £2 scratch cards before he returned to buy four scratch cards for £9.
James admitted the offences after police visited his home and he stated he had used the bank card to buy scratch cards because he was desperate.
The defendant told police he had been to the complainant’s address to collect money for cleaning her windows and he had located her purse.
He added that he was a drug-addict and he had a £100-a-day heroin habit and no income to support it but he was very sorry for what he had done.
James, who has previous convictions for dishonesty, pleaded guilty to stealing a bank card and to committing fraud by using the card to purchase goods after the offences on January 11.
He said he was having a bad time last year and he became desperate but he felt horrible and embarrassed by what he had done because the victim was a friend and a neighbour.
But James added that he has since “pulled his head out of the sand” and has stopped using as much drugs and has accepted that he needs help to beat his addiction.
Magistrates sentenced James to a 12 month community order with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement and a four-week curfew.
James was also ordered to pay £85 costs, an £85 victim surcharge and £15 compensation.