Visitors stole nurse’s purse while she tended to their sick friend in Sunderland Royal Hospital

Sunderland Royal Hospital
Sunderland Royal Hospital
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TWO heartless thieves stole a nurse’s purse while she was tending to their sick friend.

Daniel Haddock and Marc Bittlestone, both from Sunderland, snatched the purse from the woman’s handbag after she briefly left them in a treatment room at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The pair were spotted outside the hospital trying to hide the purse down a drain.

They were arrested and some of the nurse’s bank cards were found on Haddock, 27, of Beaumont Street, Southwick.

Both men pleaded guilty to theft when they appeared at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court, with Bittlestone warned he faces jail.

Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said the offence took place at about 1am on January 16, and the men were caught about 10 minutes later by an eagle-eyed security guard after the nurse saw her purse was missing and raised the alarm.

Ian Haq, representing Bittlestone, said the self-confessed drug user was willing to work with the Probation Service.

“He has not been subject to a community order since 2011. He has previously refused to engage with the Probation Service and preferred to serve a short sentence and return to offending behaviour.

“He informs me he has had a change of heart. He is at the point in his life where he wants to turn over a new leaf.”

District Judge Roger Elsey warned Bittlestone, 29, of Milburn Street, Millfield, that he faced jail.

“In my judgement, this offence is so serious, only a custodial sentence can be justified.

“But I will wait to pass sentence until a pre-sentence report is prepared.

“I’m prepared to grant you bail until a suitability for a drug rehabilitation requirement.

“A custodial sentence is the likely outcome.”

Haddock’s solicitor, Ian Cassidy, asked for sentencing to be adjourned, to link in with an offence of stealing a bottle of Aftershock.

He was later given an 18-month community order.

Bittlestone will be sentenced on February 12.