Gary Workman, 31, carried out the burglary on the morning ofÂ September 7 this year, and managed to access the property by breaking a glass panel on the back door with a shovel.Â
Prosecutor Michael Tooley described how Workman, of Abercorn Road, Intake stole his former mother-in-law's credit card, which was stored in a purse that she kept under the stairs, as well as money from a pot of change.Â
'Very few people knew where that card was kept. The defendant had been a partner of the lady's for a number of years,' said Mr Tooley.Â
After leaving the woman's property, Workmen herÂ credit card twice, spending a total of Â£59.30, before it was stopped laterÂ that morning.Â
Mr Tooley told the court how following the burglary, the woman had to borrow Â£300 from family members to cover the cost of repairing the damage toÂ her back door.Â
In a victim impact statement, the woman described how the burglary had left her feeling upset, angry and concerned that her property could be burgled again.Â
She said: 'This has made me upset. I feel angry that it was Gary.Â
'I'm now worried about this happening again. I had to borrow money to secure the door because I don't have the money.'
Workman was arrested by the police, and admitted in interview that he had carried out the burglary and said he had gained access by breaking the glass panel with a shovel he found in the garden.Â
'He deliberatelyÂ targeted her because he knew she would probably be out, and knew where she kept her credit card,' said Mr Tooley.Â
Workman pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and fraud by false representation at an earlier hearing.Â
Defending, Brian Outhwaite, told the court: 'He hadn't worked since July this year, and was in financial difficulties. He stole the card to buy cigarettes that he could sell and to buy food. It was that simple.'
Mr Outhwaite said that prior to this offending, Workman was of good character and had no previous convictions.Â
Judge Sarah Wright ordered Workman to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, to be completed within the next 12 months, as part of a community orderÂ and told him to pay Â£300 in compensation to the complainant.Â
'It's clear from the victim impact statement that she's angry, and rightfully so. She helped you out for years, and this is how you repaid her,' said Judge Wright, adding: 'As this is your first offending at the age of 31, and because you have been so candid in your admissions, I'm going to draw back from imposing an immediate sentence and impose a community order.
'But beware, if you fail to comply or commit any further offences in the next 12 months you will be brought back to court and you will go to prison.'