A THIEF snatched jewellery worth nearly £500 from an unsuspecting woman who was paying him to cut her grass.
Colin Christie stole rings from a jewellery box while the victim was out of the room, before selling them to a pawnbroker for just a fraction of their value.
The 26-year-old, of Sycamore Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
The offence took place on Friday, November 22, last year at the victim’s home in South Shields.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “He had been cutting the front and rear lawn of the victim’s home and was paid £15.
“He used the toilet and came back down and said he had lost the £15 she had given him.
“She went to the toilet to look for the money and while she was out, he took jewellery out of a jewellery box in the living room.
“When she returned he was sitting on a chair and looked on edge.”
Christie left the house and it was not until the following Monday that the woman noticed her jewellery box was empty.
The court heard that she knew no one else had been in the home since Christie.
When he was arrested by police, Christie had already sold five gold rings to a South Shields pawnbroker.
Laura Johnson, defending, said: “He had consumed two litres of cider while cutting the grass.
“He took the items to a pawnbroker and received £50 for them. He then woke up the following morning, still having the receipt, and tried to retrieve them.
“When arrested, he made full admissions to the police and entrered an immediate guilty plea.
“Drugs are an issue for him. His offending is motivated by finance, to support his drug addiction.”
The jewellery stolen was valued at £470.
The court heard that Christie was in breach of a 12-month conditional discharge given for the theft of a bike in January of last year.
He was handed a 12-month community order with a nine-month drug rehabilitation order. He was also ordered to pay compensation to the victim of £437.