Callous thief took pensioner’s cash

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

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A callous thief stole from a woman pensioner who had been a benefactor to him in the past, helping him with cash after seeing him begging.

Colin Clapp was given a £20 note by the 71-year-old woman who told him to pay her cafe bill and then she would give him £5 from the change he returned to her.

But Clapp took her money and then ran off through the back door without paying for her meal.

Clapp, 29, of Raikes Parade, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to theft.

He was sentenced to do 40 hours unpaid work for the community with 35 days rehabilitation to be supervised by the probation service and ordered to pay compensation of £20 plus a £180 court charge by Blackpool magistrates.

Martine Connah, prosecuting, said the woman was outside a cafe in Brierley Street having something to eat when she saw Clapp and called him over on May 13.

She had known Clapp as a beggar and had given him money in the past. Clapp told her he had nowhere to go that night.

She gave him £20, told him to pay her cafe bill and she would give him £5 from the change. But he ran off out of the cafe’s back door.

He had a previous conviction for theft of a purse from an elderly woman and theft of money from a male pensioner.

Daniel Harmon, defending, said: “He effectively took advantage of her good nature.

“It was a mean offence.

“She was a lady who had been good to him. He did it because he was homeless and desperate.”