An “opportunistic” crook who blagged his way into a 96-year-old woman’s Dundee home and stole £300 while she made him a cup of tea has been jailed.
John Reid told the vulnerable pensioner, who lives alone in sheltered housing, that he was cold and needed a cup of tea to warm up.
While she was putting the kettle on, he saw her handbag under a chair in the lounge and asked her to go back to add more milk to his drink.
When the pensioner returned to the kitchen Reid went through her handbag and stole the cash from her purse, telling her that he had to leave urgently and making off with the money.
Fiscal depute Kirsten Letford told Dundee Sheriff Court that the woman lived in a ground floor flat in the West End of the city.
She said: “On March 5 she observed a male walking along the path in the garden, which she found unusual.
“When she saw him, he stopped to engage her in conversation.
“He asked questions about a specific type of tree and then he said he was cold, and asked for a cup of tea.
“She let him in and went to the kitchen to make it. The accused asked for more milk and she went to the kitchen again.
“When she returned he said he no longer wished to have any tea and let himself out of the patio door.
“She then locked the door and went to return the keys to her handbag, and she noticed that her purse with £300 in it was missing.”
The “angry and upset” woman contacted police, who searched Reid’s parental home address and found no trace of the purse.
It was later discovered in the pensioner’s lounge with the money missing, but with Reid’s DNA all over it.
Reid, 33, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of theft.
Defence solicitor Iain Myles said: “He wishes to express his sincere apologies to the lady in question.
“He is disgusted with himself.
“He can’t remember the incident. He indicated that he was taking Valium at the time and that the drug has blighted his life.
“At the time he was working in the gardening trade with his father and he thinks he was in the location touting for business, as he had gone to the other neighbours to seek work.
“This was an opportunistic crime.”
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed Reid for a total of 19 months.
He said: “The victim impact statement tells me this lady has suffered from panic attacks and a loss of confidence as a result of this.”