An old sailor’s heart was broken when his wallet, which contained treasured memories, was snatched by a callous thief while he was in church.
The wallet had in it old newspaper cuttings of great sentimentality to 86-year-old John Taylor, about his time in the Navy.
The thief, Colin Clapp, was caught after the vicar of St John’s Parish Church, Blackpool, recognised his description.
Clapp, 28, of Raikes Parade, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to theft.
Pam Smith, prosecuting, told Blackpool Magistrates Court the victim was drinking coffee at St John’s Church and his wallet was on the table in front of him.
Clapp grabbed the wallet, which contained £50 cash, and ran.
The vicar was in the church and when he was given the description of the thief he identified Clapp.
When first interviewed Clapp denied the offence, saying he used to go to the church a lot, but had not been there for two years.
A parishioner, who saw the snatch, identified Clapp as the culprit from a video identification parade.
In a victim’s statement the pensioner said the incident had left him shaken and he had to borrow money to get home.
He added he had memorial news cuttings in the wallet from his time in the Navy which he had kept for many years and did not know if he could replace.
Gary McAnulty, defending, said Clapp did not target anyone.
He just saw the wallet and grabbed it on the spur of the moment.
Clapp had joined the Army at 17 but been discharged because of drug use.
He had used drugs for 10 years and had taken heroin, but had never had any professional assistance to combat his addiction.
He was sentenced to a 12-month supervision with a six months drugs rehabilitation course and ordered to pay £50 compensation to his victim.