Man who stole money to fund drug habit given community order

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A man who stole an estimated £1,000 from his friend’s mother and grandmother to fund his drug habit has been given a 12-month community order.

James Sainsbury, 22, of Brooke Road, Oakham, was told he must carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work after admitting two counts of theft.

In sentencing at Leicester Crown Court today (Friday), the court heard that Sainsbury had been stealing cash from his friend’s mother and grandmother’s purses while he was visiting her home.

Sainsbury was taking various sums of cash each week to help pay for mephedrone, which is known by its street name as mkat, and large amounts of cannabis.

Judge Mark Warby called his actions a “serious breach of trust”.

The offences took place between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, and May 1, 2011, and March 1, 2012, when he targeted each of his victims.

The court was told that his friend’s mother first noticed money going missing from her purse and later realised it was only when Sainsbury was visiting her daughter.

In December last year, Sainsbury was confronted by his friend’s mother who asked him if he was stealing from her but he denied the accusations.

She then lied to him about setting up hidden cameras around her house, which resulted in him confessing to taking the cash.

It was heard that Sainsbury was also taking money from his friend’s grandmother on a regular basis when she visited.

After admitting his actions to the pair, they came to an arrangement whereby he would carry out voluntary work for them as repayment but this agreement stopped when their relationship broke down.

The police were then informed and Sainsbury was arrested and charged with theft.

At first he denied the offences, but changed his plea to guilty on the day of his court trial.

Defending Sainsbury, Alex Davies told the court that since the offences his client had stopped using drugs, had started working as a part-time chef and had tried to sort his life out.

Mr Davies said: “He’s expressed considerable regret and remorse for his actions.

“He has knocked his habit on the head and moved on from that period of his life.

“He has turned a corner and done his best to sort his life out.”

Before delivering his sentence, judge Mark Warby said: “This is one of the lowest forms of theft as you were under the victim’s trust and confidence.

“You were allowed into their home, you took advantage of their trust and now you’ve left them suspicious of others.

“But you are only 22 and I am accepting you have turned a corner.”

The court was told Sainsbury had no previous convictions but had been cautioned on two occasions for similar offences.

He must carry out the community work under supervision.

He was not ordered to pay any costs.