PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON
An alcoholic, pre-occupied with getting money for his next drink, scooped up a wallet which had been dropped by a man at a filling station in Coleraine and fled the scene, a court heard.
Philip Lowry (43), of Lodge Road, Coleraine, stole £60 from the wallet as well as using a debit card to buy drink in two off-licences in the town.
A prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday that police received a report that a man had lost his wallet at Applegreen and CCTV showed, that moments later, another man had picked it up and walked away without making any attempt to find the owner.
The wallet-owner said £60 was taken from the wallet and it emerged the stolen bank card was then used at two off-licences.
CCTV was examined in the off-licences and Lowry was identified.
He had pleaded guilty to the theft of the wallet, cash and debit card as well as two charges of fraud by false representation by using the card during an incident on May 13 this year.
Defence barrister Nicola Rountree said a pre-sentence report made “very sad reading” as it showed the defendant, who had a record, had “suffered the loss of” a number of people who were particularly close to him and there was “unresolved trauma as a result of grief”.
He turned to alcohol and became addicted, she said.
The defence lawyer said the theft was an “opportunistic act” which happened at at time when Lowry was “preoccupied with thoughts of securing funding for his next drink …and that is what he did”.
She said the defendant has been engaging with Community Addictions.
Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers said Lowry was “making real efforts to turn your life around” and she deferred sentencing until January next year.
The judge added: “I hope to see you have made progress”.