A FORMER heroin addict stole a purse accidentally left on a chair because he did not have any money.

Jason Witchard admitted stealing the purse, containing cards, £8 cash and a driving licence, when he appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court.

Sam Dixon, prosecuting, said the victim was attending an appointment at a walk-in medical centre in Worcester when she forgot to take her purse with her, leaving it on a seat in the waiting room.

The defendant was identified through CCTV making an appointment and then taking the purse with him as he left the building. It was later found with the cash missing.

Mark Sheward, defending, said his client had been a heroin user for 13 years and his previous history of offending was largely related to that.

He told the court that 18 months ago the 31-year-old decided to turn his life around and was given a methadone prescription in October 2010.

Mr Sheward said Witchard had come off methadone three months later, no longer uses heroin and is trying to get a job.

He said his client stole the purse because he was short of money and it was his first offence in 18 months, describing it as a “blip” in an otherwise successful removal from heroin.

Magistrates sentenced Witchard, of Broad Street, Worcester, to a six-month conditional discharge. They awarded £8 compensation to the victim and also ordered the defendant to pay £85 costs.