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Crook who snatched handbag from Workington pensioner’s home jailed

Josh John Nicholson

A crook who snatched a vulnerable pensioner’s handbag days after trying to burgle a family’s West Cumbria home at night has been jailed for almost two years.

Josh John Nicholson, 24, was caught in the act by a Workington couple and chased from the property after their son had alerted them to suspicious noises and they found him downstairs just before midnight on November 4.

Nicholson, who had pestered the householder for cash before the crime after saying he was homeless, was heard being asked by a mystery female as he fled empty-handed: “Did you get owt?”

But four days later Nicholson did steal a handbag belonging to a 84-year-old woman.

He appeared uninvited at her Workington home, lied that his mother had died and, while she was distracted, took a bag which was later found by a police sniffer dog minus bank cards and £70 cash he used to splash out on milkshake and top-up cards.

The pensioner has spoken of her distress, no longer being happy at a house in which she’d lived for almost half a century and sought medical advice from her doctor.

“The money she had in her bag at the time was meant for shopping,” prosecutor Brendan Burke told Carlisle Crown Court this morning.

“The disappearance of that and her bank cards meant she didn’t have any money to do her shopping.”

Nicholson, of Mona Road, Salterbeck, Workington, admitted charges of burglary with intent to steal and theft, and was described as being “mortified” by his actions.

But, jailing him for 21 months, Judge Peter Davies said of his theft from the elderly victim: “It is mean. You should be really ashamed of yourself. You deliberately targeted this woman on the basis of her age and her vulnerability.”

Nicholson was also banned from contacting the victims and visiting their addresses for five years.