A man who offered to help look after a neighbour’s dogs went on to burgle her home.
Louis Souter was given a key to his neighbour’s North Shore home after offering to let her dogs outside while she was at a hospital appointment.
Preston Crown Court heard the 22-year-old then kept hold of the key to let the dogs out again in the future - but he went on to burgle her Wall Street home and stole jewellery and cash.
The rings were pawned for cash and he spent all the money on food and necessities.
Souter, now of Ormond Avenue, North Shore, pleaded guilty to burglary.
The court heard the 57-year-old neighbour, who had known him about a year at the time, was concerned that her dogs would be locked in the house when she attended hospital.
Mercedeh Jabbari, prosecuting, said Souter kept hold of the key following the hospital appointment on the understanding he would let the dogs out again when the woman was out.
On a date last August she realised that £70 cash had gone missing from two boxes.
She also went on to discover that five rings and a bracelet had disappeared.
When she spoke with Souter and said she intended calling the police, he straight away became very upset and said he had taken them because he needed the money.
He admitted having pawned the rings and bracelet, but that he would probably be able to get them back.
He went on to return the bracelet and two rings.
The other three rings, worth £440, were still outstanding.
When interviewed by police Souter spoke of recovering three of the items from Money Trader on Dickson Road, Blackpool.
Further police inquiries showed Souter had sold the missing three rings for scrap to Cash Converters, getting £46 cash in return.
When charged, Souter told officers: “I am sorry.”
The court heard he was of previous good character.
Joe Hart, defending, acknowledged there had clearly been a breach of trust.
He said: “He found himself in dire financial straits.
“He had some difficulty with his national insurance number and wasn’t able to get any benefits.
“In a moment of desperation he was tempted and took the items.
“He would say it was committed on impulse.
“His initial intention was to return all of the items.
“The money wasn’t spent on high living, but simply went on food and necessities.
“He is profoundly remorseful about what took place”.
Souter was given a community order of 12 months supervision and 120 hours unpaid work.
Judge Simon Newell said: “The indignity of someone going into your house, the breach of privacy and the theft of jewellery is often akin to a physical assault on somebody.
“Victims can have great difficulty for weeks, months and years afterwards living in their own house.”