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Home Thanet News Article
A kindly pensioner thought she would help out the door-to-door salesman who came to her home.
But Robbie Blythe, from Margate, decided he would take advantage of the vulnerable 90-year-old Alzheimer's sufferer and stole a cheque from her handbag.
Then the 28-year-old father-of-one paid £2,000 into his own bank account – later lying that he thought it had been a banking error.
But Blythe, of Fort Crescent, escaped an immediate jail sentence after admitting the theft and fraud.
Prosecutor Martin Yale told Canterbury Crown Court how Barbara Hood was vulnerable because of her illness and relied on the care and love of friends and carers.
In July last year, a friend checked her bank statement and noticed £2,000 had been paid out of the account and the pensioner confirmed she had not spent that money.
"In a moment of weakness, he rather foolishly took a cheque from the cheque book. He is now very remorseful..." Nicholas Jones, defending
Mr Yale said: "The friend looked at the cheque stubs and noticed one had been removed from the middle of the book, which is usually kept in Ms Hood's handbag.
"She immediately requested a copy of the cheque and realised it wasn't Ms Hood's handwriting and the police were contacted."
Ms Hood recalled a door-to-door salesman knocking on the door of her Deal home, which she answered using her walking frame with the handbag attached.
Mr Yale said the pensioner bought some handkerchiefs and a couple of sponges and other items for £9 and had paid cash, but then went into the kitchen - leaving Blythe by himself.
On August 29, Blythe was questioned and claimed he had been in hospital at the time when his bank card and wallet had been stolen.
The conman also lied about applying for a £2,000 overdraft and thought the money that appeared in his account was from the bank and had been made by mistake – despite having just £4 in the account at the time.
The judge heard Blythe had previous police cautions for fraudulent use of an excise licence and burglary with intent to steal.
Nicholas Jones, defending, said the serious feature of the theft was the victim was vulnerable and elderly.
Mr Jones said: "At the time his girlfriend announced she was pregnant and he found himself with the usual pressing demands."
He said Blythe was also suffering from depression and his doctor advised him to get a job – which led to the door-to-door work.
"When he went to the address he went there to try and sell items," he added. "It wasn't a case where he had gone there to deliberately steal.
"However, while he was there and in a moment of weakness, he rather foolishly took a cheque from the cheque book. He is now very remorseful."
He was given a five-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl also ordered him to repay the £2,000 within six months.
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