A QUICK-THINKING sister turned sleuth and photographed her thieving brother as he smashed his way into the family safe to steal his mother’s cash.
Anthony Morritt was at home on Saturday when he tried to persuade his sister to break into the safe for him, as he needed money for booze, Sunderland magistrates heard.
She used her phone to take a photograph of him, red-handed in the act.Prosecutor Paul Anderson
However, when she refused, the unemployed 22-year-old took matters into his own hands and then tried to blame his sister for what happened.
“This was a particularly unsubtle offence,” prosecutor Paul Anderson said.
“The defendant lives with his mother, who is the victim in this case.
“He was in the house with his sister on Saturday, when he asked her to break into the family safe to get some money, because he needed money. Not surprisingly, the sister said no.”
Mr Anderson said that just moments later the sister could hear the sound of Morritt breaking into the safe.
“She could hear banging, smashing and hammering noises,” he said. “She goes to have a look and there he is helping himself to three £20 notes.
“The defendant then decided to offer £40 to the witness to say that she did it.
“She used her phone to take a photograph of him, red-handed in the act.”
Morritt, of Davison Avenue, Silksworth was intoxicated at the time, the court heard, and his mother later confirmed he did not have permission to take the money.
“He told police his sister had broken into the safe and had offered him £20 to keep quiet,” Mr Anderson said.
“When officers produced the photograph, he said ‘ah well, actually it was me’.
“He said he had been drinking in his bedroom and had run out of alcohol.
“He took the money then went to the shop and bought eight cans of Foster’s.”
Mr Anderson said Morritt was not heavily convicted, but added: “There is an element of breach of trust in that he has been stealing from his family.”
He pleaded guilty to theft.
Angus Westgarth, defending, said: “In the cold light of day he is rightly ashamed of himself.
“He will have to make amends to his mother, and no doubt, to his sister.
“He tells me his mother has direct access to his benefits and he believes the £60 will be taken by his mother for the loss incurred, and perhaps some more for the safe that was damaged.”
Morritt was fined £70 and told to pay £180 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.