Host, 29, stole from student

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A MAN who stole cash from a foreign student he was accommodating has been told by a judge he had committed an “appalling breach of hospitality”.

Preston Crown Court heard how David Hope had put up the young man who was attending Blackpool Sixth Form College but within days began asking to borrow money for various things he needed.

The defendant was later convicted by a jury of stealing the money from the unidentified boy – aged 16 or 17 – who had been staying at his address on Cunliffe Road, Blackpool, while going to college.

The defendant was given a suspended prison sentence by Judge Christopher Cornwall who told him: “It really is outrageous. What does he think of the United Kingdom?

“The whole experience has been hugely damaging from his point of view.”

Hope, 29, had denied a charge of theft, but was convicted following a trial.

The case involved the theft of £1,140.

Chris Hudson, defending, said Hope had seen an opportunity and succumbed to temptation.

Mr Hudson added: “It is a nasty offence, but doesn’t quite warrant sending him straight off to custody.”

The defendant was handed 20 weeks’ prison, suspended for two years.

An order was also made for Hope to carry out 250 hours’ unpaid work in the community.

He was told to pay £1,140 compensation, plus £1,000 prosecution costs.

Judge Cornwall said the boy had only been under the defendant’s roof for a week or so when Hope was sending him messages, asking to borrow money.

The youth lent him cash for him to use to buy things which were not bought.

The judge said the young man was extraordinarily mature, sensible and very bright.

The college acted in good faith in making the necessary arrangements for him to have somewhere to stay.

Judge Cornwall added: “To exploit him in the manner you did is really unforgiveable.

“It was an appalling breach of hospitality.

“There are decent people involved in schemes like this who don’t descend to the depths that you did.”

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