A jobless man was jailed for 16 months after being caught with stolen, foreign cash which had been saved by a disabled pensioner.
Derby Crown Court heard, this month, that the Australian dollars were worth £3,900 and were earmarked for a trip down under.
The money was retrieved by police who chased offender Paul Eccles, 37, to his mother’s home on Devonshire Terrace, Chesterfield, on November 13.
Recorder Paul Bleasdale QC told Eccles: “This was a thoroughly miserable, despicable act of dishonesty on a 79-year-old gentleman who was vulnerable and disabled.”
A woman is already serving a 14-month jail term for the theft of the $6,000 from the pensioner’s Chesterfield home, according to the court. In a statement read to the court, the victim wrote: “I should not have to feel like a prisoner in my own home. The money is to visit my family in Australia and means the world to me.”
Alex Wolfson, prosecuting, said the cash vanished in early November and Eccles and the woman went to a post office but failed to get it changed into sterling.
They were seen by police and the cash was recovered from Eccles’ bedroom, according to the court.
Eccles, of Thorntree Court, Chesterfield, who has 128 previous convictions, admitted dishonestly receiving stolen goods.
Will Bennett, mitigating, said: “He recognises the victim is a thoroughly decent man who didn’t deserve this.”
Eccles has tackled a drugs problem and is working as a cleaner while he has been in custody awaiting sentence, according to Mr Bennett.
Mr Bennett added: “He is getting old. He has a dreadful record and is bored with spending time in custody. He has hit rock bottom and he can sort himself out.”