Chocolate box savings stolen

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A PAIR of thieves stole a tin of Quality Street – stuffed with £26,000 – from a pensioner while he was in a Blackpool arcade.

When Liam Davis and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, grabbed the 75-year-old’s bag at Coral Island, they believed it contained a tin of chocolates and tried to flog it on the street for £5.

But Lancaster Crown Court heard how when no-one would buy the tin, they decided to open it up.

Inside they found wads of £50 and £20 notes which they stole before dumping the tin outside the amusement arcade with £8,000 left inside.

Davis, 23, of Penrose Avenue, Marton, and the teenager, from South Shore, both pleaded guilty to theft.

Kirsten McAteer, prosecuting, said: “The victim said he put the bag on the floor while he was playing some gaming machines. He was then told by a lady his bag had been taken. It seems it was an opportunistic theft.”

The victim, from Blackburn, came to Blackpool with his life savings in the tin.

Bunty Batra, defending Davis, said his client had made “a spur of the moment decision” while the pair were passing through Coral Island on April 24.

He said: “Davis was exceptionally drunk.

“As they walked through the arcade, Davis saw this bag and grabbed it.

“None of the defendants knew the complainant. There is no suggestion the complainant was targeted or that they knew what was in the bag.”

In a statement, Davis said: “I thought the tin did indeed contain chocolates. I tried to sell the tin for £5. I gave up and decided to eat some of the chocolates. I opened the tin and inside there were £50 and £20 notes. I showed my friend and we decided to spilt it.”

Davis took £11,750 and the teenager stole £1,800.

The Quality Street tin was later found containing the rest of the cash in front of Coral Island by a member of the public and handed to the police.

After being arrested, Davis handed back the money he stole, apart from £20.

The teenaged thief had splashed out on a mobile phone and clothes.

The court heard the victim has been given just short of £20,000 of the money back but around £6,000 remains unaccounted for.

Sarah Booth, defending the teenager, said: “It has always been the case that they believed it contained chocolates and tried to sell it on the street for £5.

“If someone had bought it, they would have got a nice surprise.”

The pair were bailed to be sentenced on Thursday, May 24.