Serial burglar used bank card stolen from blind woman to buy alcohol from Romford shops
- Credit: Archant
A serial burglar who used a bank card stolen from a blind woman to buy £120 worth of cigarettes and alcohol avoided a prison sentence at a court hearing yesterday (Wednesday, September 26).
Out-of-work window cleaner Tommy Goodchild, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court to using the card in five shops across Romford and Collier Row, including Essex Offy, Best One and branches of the Coop and Costcutter on August 23 last year.
He has previously been convicted of more than 50 burglary offences.
District judge Gary Lucie, sentencing the 28-year-old to a 12-month community order, said: “I’m going to step back from any sort of custody, but if you breach this order don’t expect to get a slap on the wrist. You could go into custody.”
The hard up homeless dad was persuaded to join in the fraud by a second man who offered him a share of the ill-gotten gains after using the card to make contactless payments for goods costing up to £30, the court heard.
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Victoria Ironside, defending, said: “He stupidly went along with it. He was tired, cold and saw it as a way to get cigarettes.”
The court heard the “contrite” former cocaine addict didn’t know who the card belonged to, but admitted to knowing it was “dodgy”.
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He was short of money at the time and was in “considerable debt”, the court heard.
Ms Ironside argued Goodchild’s money troubles stemmed from his homelessness. He sometimes lived with his mum but it was hard for him to hold down a job or claim benefits because she wouldn’t let him give her address to potential employers. This was partly through fear of bailiffs calling to collect on his debts.
He sometimes slept in cars or stayed with his girlfriend, who gave birth to a baby girl three weeks ago.
Ms Ironside said having a child was a positive thing in his life but added that official support had been limited for him.
She called for more help for him, saying if he went to prison he would only end up back on the streets afterwards.
Goodchild was also ordered to pay £121.69 in compensation.