Woman stole from kindly neighbour, 76

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A woman took advantage of her elderly neighbour’s hospitality by stealing from him when he invited her into his home.

Charlotte Lawler, 34, has been spared jail after a court heard she took a bank card from the 76-year-old when he welcomed her in.

Mr Preece has been a good friend to you, as far as I can make out and you plainly set about getting money from him by taking the opportunity when he invited you into his home

Lawler, of Cross Street, Blackpool, then used the card to withdraw £300 in cash and make a number of purchases.

But Preston Crown Court heard Lawler, a drug addict, also stole another addict’s methadone when she was in Lloyd’s chemist collecting her prescription.

She also targeted a man using a cash machine in Dickson Road to steal his bank card and access his money.

Lawler pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and breach of a suspended sentence and appeared before the court to be sentenced.

Recorder John Bromley-Davenport said: “Mr Preece has been a good friend to you, as far as I can make out and you plainly set about getting money from him by taking the opportunity when he invited you into his home.

“On November 27 you went into Lloyds pharmacy and stole someone else’s methadone.

“You know what it is like to be an addict trying to get themselves straight, but you stole it anyway.

“On January 23 you took advantage of someone in a rather vulnerable position by getting in front of him and managing to clock on to his pin number.

“You stole his cash card in and you used it.”

Lawler has been on remand since she committed the most recent offence.

The court heard she has taken steps to tackle her drug addiction and wants to turn her life around for the sake of her two children.

The judge said: “Even if I was to be as harsh on you as I possibly could be, I couldn’t keep you locked up much longer.

“If you have good intentions you should be given the chance to prove it.”

He handed Lawler a 12 month sentence suspended for two years with a two year drug rehabilitation order and 40 hours rehabilitation with the probation service.