Thief stole pram, wine and hand cream from car in South Shields - then struck again at carvery
A serial criminal who stole an 82-year-old woman's handbag from a pub table and a child's pram from a car has been put behind bars.
Drug user Steven Wastell, who has 185 convictions on his record, took the pensioner's bag, which contained £125 cash, cards, keys and personal items, while she and her husband had gone up to a carvery to collect their food at The Goose in Newcastle on September 30.
He was "aggressive" when challenged by staff and managed to get away
Just a few weeks earlier, in the early hours of September 3, the 39-year-old menace had taken £130 worth of property, including a pram, wine and hand cream from a Renault vehicle that was parked in Birchington Avenue, South Shields.
Wastell had been spotted "rooting through" the vehicle by a neighbour, who contacted the police and he was arrested nearby, carrying the stolen property and a black tube containing a small amount of cannabis.
The car owner said in a statement what happened was "upsetting" and added: "I've worked hard to buy the property, it disgusts me to think someone thinks they have the right to take things belonging to me."
At Newcastle Crown Court Wastell, of Annan Court, Gateshead, who was on a suspended sentence at the time, admitted theft from a motor vehicle, possessing cannabis, theft and failing to surrender to a previous hearing.
Prosecutor Tom Mitchell said Wastell is a "prolific thief", with the majority of his convictions being related to stealing and added: "He's a thief, a burglar, a drug user."
Christopher Knox, defending, said Wastell has "some ability" and had good employment working on wind farms for three years, while he was drug-free, before he "spiralled down into drugs again".
Judge Christopher Prince sentenced Wastell to 12 months behind bars.
The judge told him: "Very simply, you seem to prey on members of the public and steal their property from their cars, their bags, their homes at almost any opportunity you are given."
Judge Prince said Wastell's "intelligence and ability" are of no interest to people he steals from and added: "It means nothing to them, what matters is you are stopped from offending."