13:05 Thursday 23 January 2014

Lodger stole from house to pay off loan sharks

Written byPETER RICHARDSON

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A LODGER who began stealing items from his friend in a desperate bid to fend off loan sharks has been jailed.

Jason James took items from a house he had been lodging at in Woodville for 18 months after struggling to pay off his debt.

James, 43, had borrowed £2,500 from an illegal lender and resorted to stealing jewellery, a television and a DVD player - worth in total more than £1,500 - and selling them off, Derby Crown Court heard.

He had struck up a friendship with the woman he had been living with in Swadlincote Road, but when she worked out he had been stealing from her, she refused to help him pay off his loan and called the police.

The court heard that James had managed to reclaim many of the items he had stolen.

Sentencing was even delayed to give him time to get back the jewellery he sold to a pawn shop.

Sarah Knight, prosecuting, said he had reclaimed the ‘lion’s share’ of the stolen possessions.

Emma Coverley, mitigating, said James regretted his actions.

She said: “He was in financial trouble, borrowed from illegal money lenders who very quickly wanted their money back.”

The court heard how James was traced to a hostel by the gang, who threatened him, his child and former partner, warning him not to give their details to the police.

Miss Coverley added: “He was unable to get out of the mire at that point. There was remorse and tears in the interview as he reflected upon his own behaviour.”

In jailing him for four months, Judge Ebrahim Mooncey said he had taken into consideration the impact of his actions of the victim.

He told James: “The victim speaks of her devastation in finding out you stole from her after she offered you the hand of kindness.

“I hope whilst you are in custody, accommodation can be sorted out and you can start afresh.”

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