Grantham

Jailed burglar left cancer patient with just £1

A burglar who broke into the home of a 73-year-old cancer sufferer and stole his bank card was jailed for six years after a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday.

James Mashford, who had a string of previous convictions for house burglary starting when he was just 15, went on to use the card to withdraw £300 from his victim’s bank account.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said that the victim, who was in poor health and had restricted mobility after undergoing a hip replacement, discovered Mashford inside his home on the morning of May 6 this year.

Mr Howes told the court: “The victim was a vulnerable person. He slept downstairs in his front room. He suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and his mobility was affected by a hip replacement operation. He also suffered from lung cancer.

“He was sat in his armchair watching television when suddenly he saw a male intruder walk into the room and close the door behind him.”

Mr Howes said that Mashford told the man “I need your wallet. I need to get to London”.

The victim, fearing for his own safety, gave Mashford £20. Mashford also took his loose change leaving him just £1 to buy a newspaper. He then persuaded the victim to hand over his bank card and PIN number.

Mashford then left the property and later the same morning he used the card to withdraw £300 from the man’s bank account. Mashford went to the Kwik Save store in Grantham where he attempted to use the card to pay for £134 worth of tobacco and beer but the transaction failed.

The victim contacted his daughter who called police and officers identified Mashford from CCTV footage. As a result he was arrested by 9am the same day.

When he was interviewed by police Mashford claimed the victim had given him permission to use the bank card and denied he had done anything wrong.

The court was told that the victim has since passed away.

Mashford,38, of no fixed address, admitted burglary at the property in Norton Street, Grantham, on May 6, together with charges of fraud and theft.

He also admitted theft from a property in Cecil Street, Grantham, earlier the same morning and asked for a further offence of burglary at a property in Farndale Crescent, Grantham, to be taken into consideration.

The court was told that he had convictions for 21 previous house burglaries.

Neil Sands, in mitigation, said that Mashford had been trying to turn his life around and was living with his mother until things went wrong.

“He obtained work but matters went tragically wrong. He went back to using heroin and crack cocaine and his behavior deteriorated.

“That is put forward as an explanation and not as an excuse. He realises he needs to make changes in his life.”