Man stole item then claimed refund in shop

A MAN who tried to supplement his meagre finances by claiming a refund on stolen property he picked up in the street appeared before Harrogate magistrates accused of fraud.

Craig Shaun Edward Malton, 21, of Pendragon Way, Harrogate pleaded guilty to the offence said to have involved an £8 bottle of cologne bought from Next in James Street, Harrogate.

Prosecutor Kathryn Reeve said the purchase had been made in early October but a few nights later the buyer’s Vauxhall Astra had been broken into and the cologne and its receipt, together with a tent and a sleeping bag, had been taken.

Miss Reeve said on October 11 Malton had gone to Next with the bottle and receipt and sought to obtain a cash refund.

But he had then left before the matter could be fully dealt with.

When police spoke to him about the crime, Malton denied having been in Christina Street, the location of the theft, but accepted he had been drinking at the home of a friend a couple of streets away

Malton had also denied going to Next but his fingerprints had been found on both the bottle and the receipt and he had been picked out by two witnesses at an identity parade.

In mitigation Helen Howard said Malton wanted to assure the court he had nothing to do with the theft from the car which had taken place three or four days before he went into Next.

Miss Howard said he had been walking home when he found the cologne and receipt in a plastic bag. He had limited means and decided to return it to the store and see if he could get a few extra pounds to help his finances.

Court chairman Michael Poole said a fine of £80 with £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge had been increased from the level associated with an early guilty plea to mark his non-co-operation with the police which had led to the need for an identity parade.