A painter abused the trust of a Blackpool businessman when he stole cash, jewellery and a games console worth almost £2,000 from the family home.
David Willis was jailed for 14 weeks by a judge at Preston Crown Court, who told him: “The message must go out that those who steal from employers, who have allowed them into their homes, will be dealt with accordingly.”
Willis, 24, of Camden Road, Layton, admitted two charges of theft.
The court heard that the victim, who owned a sports bar in Blackpool, moved to a new address in April last year.
Much of the family’s belongings were in boxes and bags because refurbishment work was being done on the house, some of it by Willis.
He was employed as a painter on a casual basis and would regularly go to the bar for payment.
The amounts varied from week to week as his hours were not regular.
Gerald Jones, prosecuting, said in mid-August last year it was noticed that a £20 Scottish bank note was missing from a bedroom.
When confronted about it, Willis denied theft, but was told to leave.
A check of the home also found that an Xbox games console was missing, as well as a bracelet, two diamond rings and two chains, each with a cross.
One of the chains had a gold cross left to the victim by his mother 16 years earlier – the only thing he had to remind him of her.
Willis had traded in the Xbox at a pawnbrokers for £15. He said that his employer was being chased by creditors and had given him items of jewellery to sell, as payment.
A claim denied by the businessman. None of the stolen property, worth more than £1,900, was recovered.
Paul Robinson, defending, said his client had carried out a burglary at the age of 17.
He said unemployed Willis was awaiting a place on the Prince’s Trust programme.
He asked the judge for a community order to be made.
But Judge Heather Lloyd said people were entitled to feel they could employ builders, decorators and gardeners at their homes, without becoming victims of crime.
“There is no remorse, no insight into what you have done,” she told him. “You, unlike many, were in the fortunate position to be given some work, to have a job.”