Teenager Steals From His Broken-hearted Granny To Fund a Holiday

PUBLISHED: 10:49 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:35 04 May 2010

TEENAGER Joshua Hancock preyed on his vulnerable grandmother by fraudulently using her bank card to buy flights and accommodation for a trip to Spain, leaving her broken hearted. The 18-year-old - who had a cocaine habit -- used Gwendoline Hancock s card

TEENAGER Joshua Hancock preyed on his vulnerable grandmother by fraudulently using her bank card to buy flights and accommodation for a trip to Spain, leaving her broken hearted.

The 18-year-old - who had a cocaine habit -- used Gwendoline Hancock's card to book flights and hotel accommodation over the internet for himself and a friend, costing £1,445.37.

In the past, Mrs Hancock had helped Joshua to buy a car - but things went sour when his behaviour changed and she realised he was stealing, prosecutor Yetunde Fawehinmi told Ely magistrates.

Mrs Hancock had refused to give the teenager cash before he turned up at her Littleport home with a friend, and she later discovered that her grandson had gone on a holiday bought with money taken from her bank account.

Mrs Hancock told police she felt "hurt, let down and broken hearted" to discover what had been done by a member of her own family.

Hancock's trip to Spain was short lived, after he ran out of money he ended up sleeping rough, and his parents funded his return flight.

Mitigating, solicitor Michael Judkins said Hancock's life was in melt down at the time he committed the offence in early August. His parents had thrown him out, he was in fear of violence because of a dispute involving a friend, cocaine had taken over his life, and he had lost his job as a bricklayer.

"His life was in a complete mess," said Mr Judkins. "He wanted to straighten out his head by going to Spain with a friend, and he used the card to buy flights and his initial accommodation.

"He realised he could not stay there for ever, he contacted his parents and apologised for what he had done. He is disgusted and ashamed." Hancock no longer takes drugs, and is back at work, he added.

Sentencing Hancock to 200 hours unpaid work, and ordering him to reimburse the bank and pay £100 costs, presiding magistrate Harvey Harrison said: "You took advantage of a vulnerable old lady, it was your grandmother, who in the past had been very generous.

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