A man who claimed he “found” a bank card “couldn’t believe his luck” and then used it to make more than 50 ‘contactless’ purchases totalling over £850.
Marek Gosa (42), of Union Street in Coleraine, pleaded guilty to the charge of the theft of the card and fraud by false representation. A prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court on October 8 that in April this year police attended Lidl in Coleraine where Gosa had attempted to buy an ironing board but the transaction failed as it was over the £30 contactless limit and suspicions were raised when the defendant didn’t know the card PIN code.
He had also tried to buy a mop bucket and had bought items including an iron and a can of cider.
It then emerged that a staff member had seen the defendant previously lifting a bank card from the ground and put it in his pocket in the carpark at Lidl. It was established Gosa had made 51 transactions using the card in a three day period in various stores which came to £856.
Defence solicitor Denise Gillan said it was a classic case where technology to benefit people “has in fact made it easier” where a defendant, who was “stocious” was able to commit such crimes.
She added: “He found the card, it is theft by finding”.
The lawyer said it was an opportunistic crime and that Gosa “probably couldn’t believe his luck”. Ms Gillan said the majority of purchases were almost invariably alcohol and tobacco. She said the defendant, who is Polish, drank a lot, especially at the weekend.
District Judge Peter King said the defendant had one previous theft offence in 2015. He said the case before the court was unusual as the defendant had used a contactless card 51 times with a loss of £850 whereas had there been any real intent he could have maxed the card out at £30 a time with a loss of over £1,500.
The judge said it was a “stupid and drink-fuelled escapade” which was “mean but fundamentally opportunistic”. He said the defendant could give something back to society by doing 150 hours of unpaid work.