Sneak thief caught in act

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An ODD JOB man was caught red-handed stealing from an elderly Sheffield couple after he was snapped on camera.

Joyce and Raymond Wilson, both aged in their 70s, set up a CCTV system in their house after noticing money had been going missing.

The couple deliberately left a £10 note and £7 in loose change on the mantelpiece in their living room, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

They left their home at Avisford Road, Southey Green, secure when they popped out at breakfast time but within half an hour their odd job man, 45-year-old John Hydes, had stolen the money.

His theft was captured on the couple’s camera and he was arrested by police, said prosecutor Susan Evans.

Father-of-six Hydes, of no fixed address, admitted burglary.

Miss Evans said Mrs Wilson, 71, and her husband, 76, were ‘very upset’ about what happened.

In a statement Mrs Wilson said: “We were so good to him buying him clothes and giving him food parcels. We can’t understand why he has turned on us like this. I would just like to know why.”

Hydes, who has 20 previous convictions and has served prison terms in the past, had been ‘on the straight and narrow’ until the theft, said his barrister Tim Savage.

He accepted there had been a serious breach of trust and was ‘totally ashamed’ of what he had done.

He had pleaded guilty to avoid the couple coming to court, he said.

Mr Savage said Hydes befriended the couple and worked hard for them for several years doing their gardening and running errands like shopping.

But he needed cash to feed a cocaine habit and had less income following a change in his benefits.

“There was a real friendship between him and the Wilsons and he feels he has let them down,” said Mr Savage.

Judge Alan Goldsack said Hydes had committed a ‘gross breach of trust’.

“The couple suspected small monies had been missing over a time so they put their own camera in place to try to catch the culprit,” he said.

Hydes was jailed for 52 weeks suspended for two years and has to undertake a drug rehabilitation course.

Judge Goldsack said he was also putting him on trust to repay the stolen money.