Homeless thief stole bank card from disabled stepdad’s sheltered accommodation

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Bank cards
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A thief took his sick and vulnerable stepfather’s bank card from his sheltered accommodation and helped himself to his cash.

 The victim had left the card on his kitchen table, ready for a neighbour to help him with his shopping, Sunderland magistrates heard.

 But Grant Gettins, 30, took advantage of his stepdad’s trust when he let him into his serviced flat in Hendon.

 Prosecutor Paul Anderson said Gettins approached the victim at 10pm on August 23.

 “He asked if he could come into his flat to get his mother’s telephone number, she was at Sunderland Royal Hospital,” Mr Anderson said.

“It was written down on the kitchen table. The injured party usually leaves his bank card on the table because he needs assistance from a neighbour to go shopping.”

 The next morning, the card was missing and the victim contacted his bank to be told that £100 had been withdrawn from a cashpoint at Villette Road Post Office between 7.30am and 8am that morning.

 In a victim statement, the stepfather said: “I’m a vulnerable person and this incident has left me distressed. I suffer from hypertension and nerve damage and I use a walking stick due to mobility problems.”

 Gettins, of Tel-el-Kebir Road, Hendon, was arrested and interviewed by police.

 “He said he felt very bad about things. He had gone in and taken the card. He said he was homeless and had used it outside the post office and got £100 for himself. He said he wanted to make good the loss, but I don’t think anything has happened.”

 Gettins, who only has one previous conviction for shoplifting, admitted theft and fraud by false representation.

 Heather Bolton, defending, said: “The injured party is Mr Gettins’ stepfather. He must have known his PIN number.

 “Mr Gettins was homeless. He didn’t have any income. He went into the property, he was invited in the property and he saw the card and he at the spur of the moment he took the card and he was aware of the PIN. He’s made some withdrawals.

 “He has tried to repay the victim and he has been to the property to try and pay the money back, but he hasn’t been able to get in.

 “He has rung the concierge who will not let him in without the complainant being there. He is remorseful for his actions.”

 District Judge Roger Elsey, said: “The offence clearly has an impact on your victim who will now be unable to trust you. You now have a serious conviction recorded against you and if you re-offend the sentence has to be more severe.”

 Judge Elsey made a compensation order for £200. “To compensate for the distress as well as the financial loss,” he said.

 Gettins was also told to pay a £50 costs and a £180 criminal courts charge.

 The judge added: “You haven’t gained at all from this, you have lost.”