A cowardly thief who targeted an 80-year-old woman has been put behind bars.
Gwyn Rees, 52, was told “you have run out of last chances” as he was jailed for 12 weeks at Preston Crown Court.
Hanifa Patel, prosecuting, told the court Rees, of Carr Street, Preston, spotted the pensioner leaving B&M close to Preston Bus Station October 23 last year.
As the woman went to check the bus timetable, Rees approached her and told her she had dropped a 2p coin on the floor.
But as they both bent down, the woman felt Rees reach into her pocket and take the £80 cash she was carrying.
The woman elbowed Rees and told him to stop but the pickpocket made off with the cash.
However, the incident was captured on CCTV and Rees was arrested when he was caught for a separate matter of shoplifting. Chris Hudson, defending, said the offence was “mean” and a “nasty experience” for the victim.
He said Rees had been abusing heroin for 35 years but has not touched the drug in recent years as he has a methadone prescription.
He added: “The offence was spontaneous. He saw someone who was vulnerable and thought they would have money.”
When Rees was arrested he denied being the thief, saying: “I would never steal from an old lady”.
But after viewing CCTV footage he admitted he was the offender.
Judge Stuart Baker, sentencing, said: “You have an appallingly long record for dishonesty. A prison sentence is the only appropriate one.
“You have run out of last chances and this time you must serve your punishment immediately.”