A THIEF stole from a neighbour who trusted him to look after her home.
Michael Robson was asked to keep an eye on her house in Harraton while the owner visited her sick father in Hong Kong.
When she returned five months later, she discovered her television and gardening equipment had disappeared.
Robson initially claimed he had borrowed them, but later admitted he could not get them back.
Robson told the police he used the goods to secure a loan of £100, but could not afford the £120 to buy them back. The 34-year-old pleaded guilty to stealing a TV, a strimmer and a lawnmower, worth £470, between February and July at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
Prosecutor Lee Poppett said: “When she returned on July 16, she realised the TV was missing from the living room and the lawnmower and strimmer were missing from the shed.
“She approached Mr Robson and he said he had borrowed the TV while she was away and it had broken.
“He said the lawnmower and the other item had been borrowed by her brother and they would be brought back the next day.
“She received numerous notes and texts with excuses as to why the property had not been returned.”
Orla Davey, defending, said Robson, of Hawthorn Crescent, was unemployed at the time and had two children aged eight and 22-months to support.
Magistrates imposed a community order, with 100 hours of unpaid work. Robson must also pay £470 compensation to his victim, court costs of £85 and a £60 victim surcharge.