Thief smashed his way into a car parked in South Shields street and stole a grandmother’s £50 shopping money

A hungry and homeless teenager smashed his way into a car and stole a grandmother’s £50 shopping money due to “devilment and greed”, a court heard.

By Gareth Crickmer
Monday, 13th July 2020, 7:00 am
Andrew Calvert, who pleaded guilty to theft, was ordered to pay the car owner £100 compensation at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
Andrew Calvert, who pleaded guilty to theft, was ordered to pay the car owner £100 compensation at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Andrew Calvert, 19, and another man were spotted acting suspiciously near the owner’s Mini in Birchington Avenue, South Shields, on Thursday, June 4.

A concerned neighbour heard a bang and saw Calvert, of Tanfield Gardens, South Shields, breaking in.

Magistrates in South Tyneside were told the witness shouted a warning – and then set off in pursuit when they fled.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said police were soon on the scene and nabbed the youngster nearby and recovered the cash.

He said: “A witness saw two males who looked like they were up to no good, and they were still there some time later.

“This gentleman thought about calling the police but then heard a loud bang. He ran outside.

“He saw this man leaning inside his neighbour’s vehicle and told him that he was calling the police.

“He then chased them. The police arrived and detained this man not long after. He was found with £50.”

Mr Anderson said the money belonged to the owner’s grandmother, adding: “She needed it to go shopping.

“The defendant was frank with the police in interview.

“He said he stole the money and that he wanted to spend it. He said that he was down on his luck and starving.

“For some reason, he managed to cut his neck when he leaned in. He must have cut it on the glass.”

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “He was until his appearance today a man of good character, which he has now lost.

“He had fallen out with his mum and stepfather and had been sofa surfing or street homeless for a number of weeks.

“He needed food. He saw the £50 lying there. He says that it was a stupid thing to do.”

Alastair Robson, chairman of the magistrates’ bench, told Calvert he had acted out of “devilment and greed”.

Calvert, who pleaded guilty to theft, was ordered to pay the car owner £100 compensation.

He was fined £120 and must pay £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

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