Burnley thief bought food and alcohol after stealing new dad's bank card

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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A crook who likes to enjoy himself went on a spree, spending more than £100 on food and alcohol with a new dad’s contactless debit card, a court heard.

Jobless ex-con Benjamin Kelly used the card twice at Subway and once at Kitchen Service Station and a Spar store in Burnley, not long after it had been taken from the victim’s car.

The dad had returned from hospital with his partner and new baby at around 5pm on February 14th and had helped his family into their house.

He inadvertently left his car open and when he returned to it at about 9-30am the next day he found his wallet had been stolen.

The town’s magistrates were told how the victim checked his bank account online and saw purchases had been made from 7-30am, in four separate transactions.

Mrs Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said: "Police officers made CCTV enquiries from the time of the card purchases and identified the defendant from the footage.

"He was interviewed, shown the CCTV footage and admitted it was he who had used that card.

"He said he found it in the rear of a taxi, realised it was contactless and took the opportunity to use it on four occasions.”

The court was told the victim had been reimbursed by his bank.

The defendant was bailed and on June 23rd he and another man took two cases of lager from Kitchen Service Station.

Kelly was again identified from CCTV, but told police he couldn’t remember as he had been drunk and “being an idiot”.

The defendant, who is on benefits, had 57 offences on his record, including dishonesty and had served time.

Mr Dylan Bradshaw, defending Kelly, said he had drink and drugs issues, lived on the fringes of society and “drifts in and out of criminality”. He had mental health problems.

Kelly had bought food and alcohol for himself, but of course he was doing that with somebody else’s money.

Mr Bradshaw said the defendant, whose “long- suffering” grandmother allowed him to use her address, had been sent to prison in December 2017 and had just finished post- sentence supervision.

The solicitor continued: "He likes a drink. He likes to enjoy himself. Lots of us do, but we work to fund that. “

Mr Bradshaw said: ”He does wish to apologise for his behaviour, but it was his own gratification that was at the forefront of his mind.”

The solicitor added: "I have told him he needs to get a grip of himself, because if he continues to behave in this way and make excuses then he is going back to prison.”

The defendant, of Nelson Square, Burnley, admitted handling stolen goods and fraud allegations, committed on February 15 and theft.

He received 18 weeks in custody, suspended for a year, and must pay £30 compensation and a £115 victim surcharge.