A homeless drug-user who found a stolen handbag with one-hundred dollars was brought to court after he changed the money for £63.05 at a Thomas Cook travel agent’s.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court recently heard how Christopher David Hall. 33, of no fixed abode, claimed he had found the handbag before he swapped the one-hundred dollars for Sterling cash at the travel agent’s in Ripley.
Sarah Haslam, prosecuting, told the hearing on September 12 the handbag had been stolen from a woman’s home with the one-hundred dollar note inside and the victim alerted travel agencies and the next day police contacted her to say they had received a report that a man had cashed the note at a travel agent’s.
Hall, who had provided his details to the travel agent’s was tracked down by police and he told them he had found the handbag under a bridge and found the one-hundred dollars inside.
He added that he took the cash to help fund his drug habit.
Hall, who has previous convictions for thefts and possessing an offensive weapon, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods from February 7.
Defence solicitor Anise Rowlands said Hall had been struggling with drugs and he had recently been released from prison and he was living homeless.
She added that the offence pre-dated Hall’s previous court appearances in April and May and had this offence been taken into consideration at that time she argued it would not have had a material difference on the sentence he received in spring.
She added that there is no suggestion that he had stolen the handbag or burgled the victim’s home.
She said: “He gave his true name and an address and an email account when he was in Thomas Cook.”
Magistrates sentenced Hall to a 12 month conditional discharge but warned if he reoffends he will be resentenced for the handling stolen goods offence.
He was also ordered to pay £63.05 in compensation.