A Minster man has been jailed for a spate of thefts from people he once considered as family.
Mick Corke, of Augustine Road, was sentenced to four years for taking various items from the parents and grandmother of his wife Lisa, from whom he is now divorced.
Prosecutor Tom Dunn said Corke, 32, had stolen from his father-in-law Alex Mitchell and 79-year-old grandmother Joan Gillham, for whom he did some work.
He committed the first burglary at Mrs Gilham's home in Sexburga Drive, Minster. She left her bungalow secure before going on holiday to Spain on June 13 last year and all appeared to be well when she returned on July 14.
But she later discovered £150 was missing from her petty cash and then noticed other property including "quality" jewellery, some belonging to her late husband, was missing.
Also taken was some china from RMS Mauretania, launched in 1907 and then the world’s largest and fastest ship. It had been given to her by her grandfather.
Mr Dunn said it was against a background of Corke having money problems that he burgled the Minster home of Mr Mitchell and his wife Tracy in September last year.
Mr Mitchell, a mortgage consultant, became suspicious and forced his way into a shed and found some of Mrs Gillham's property. He also discovered Corke had stolen and pawned jewellery, including a 9ct gold ring, from his family.
Mr Dunn told Maidstone Crown Court an insurance claim for the property totalled £13,000.
When challenged about the matter Corke denied it outright, but the case against him was overwhelming, said the prosecutor.
Corke stood shame-faced in the dock as Judge Charles Byers told him: "I observed on the last occasion when you entered your guilty pleas somewhat late in the day that these were mean offences, and they were.
"You were trusted in homes of those people who treated you as a third grandson, as I have read in one of the impact statements. You betrayed that trust."
Harriet Johnson, defending, said Corke's former wife had been in hospital after suffering a heart attack and he had been out of work for some time.
Corke was in distress looking after their two daughters while his wife was in hospital.
"In a moment of desperation he took the items with the intention of pawning them and then, when work picked up, repurchasing them and returning them," said Miss Johnson.
"He hoped no one would be the wiser. He accepts now it was naive. I wish to emphasise it was not out of any wish to fund a lavish lifestyle when he committed these offences. It was out of sheer desperation.
"It caught up with him. He could no longer hide from what happened. As a result of these proceedings partly he has seen the end of his marriage.
"He tried to take his own life but was unable to do so. He has lost his business. He had been welcomed into a warm and loving family."
Corke, who was offered a job with a carpentry firm, accepted there was tremendous sentimental damage in what he did.
"His response is one of tremendous shame," she said.