Thief stole man’s wallet containing last will and testament from bus in Sunderland

A thief made a grave error when he pinched a wallet containing a last will and testament lost on a bus in Sunderland.

By Gareth Crickmer
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 12:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th July 2022, 12:25 pm

But Jai Otterwell, 44, failed to avoid being spotted by on-board CCTV which recorded him picking up the dropped item.

Otterwell, of Hawthorn Cottages, South Hetton, had travelled on the Go North East X20, sitting separately to his victim.

Both got off in Sunderland, but he immediately reboarded at lunchtime on Thursday, October 14 – and took the wallet.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Magistrates in South Tyneside heard he claimed to have lost his own and had returned realising his blunder.

But prosecutor Clare Irving said security cameras showed he did not go to his seat but went instead to the spot where his victim had been sitting.

The court was told that the wallet contained various personal items, including the man’s last will and testament.

She added: “The man got off and soon afterwards realised that his wallet wasn’t in his possession.

“The bus had left so he contacted Go North East which told him his wallet hadn’t been located, making him think it had been stolen.

“CCTV was checked, and it showed the defendant exiting as the drivers changed, and then getting back onto the bus.

“He looks and picks something up which is the wallet. He was arrested.”

Otterwell, who pleaded guilty to theft by finding, told police he had lost his own wallet and had returned to look for it.

Mrs Irving said his claim to have been handed the wallet by the bus driver was disproved by CCTV evidence.

Duncan Emmerson, defending, told the court: “He has gone to Sunderland with a friend and when he had got off the bus, he has realised he has lost his wallet.

“CCTV shows that he goes back on and when he passes the seat where this gentleman was sitting, he picks it up. The credit cards haven’t been used by him.”

Otterwell, who has 16 previous theft offences on his record, was ordered to pay his victim £150 compensation and was fined £80, with a £34 victim surcharge.