Homeless Hartlepool man stole games console from friend who took him in, and sold it to buy drugs

Matthew Hart sold the games console at a Cash Converters shop.
Matthew Hart sold the games console at a Cash Converters shop.

A homeless man who was allowed to stay with a friend repaid the kindness by stealing from her.

Matthew Hart took a games console when he left the woman’s home and sold it for £40, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

“He took it to a Cash Converters shop,” said Sean Ell, prosecuting. “He told staff it was his to sell.

“Police became involved and the console was recovered.”

Hart, 22, of Fraser Grove, Hartlepool, admitted theft and fraud on July 13.

Neil Taylor, defending, said in mitigation: “This is a very straightforward case.

“Mr Hart was staying with a family friend while he was looking for a council property.

“At the time he had a drugs habit, which is why he was desperate for money.

“He is thoroughly ashamed of what he has done.”

Mr Taylor told the court Hart is now ‘getting his life in order’.

“He tells me he is a different person,” added Mr Taylor. “He has sought help voluntarily for his drugs problem.

“When someone takes help voluntarily that help is more likely to have the desired effect than if it is forced upon them.

“Mr Hart is genuinely motivated to get his life in order.”

The magistrates sentenced Hart to a conditional discharge for 12 months, and ordered him to pay £220 costs.

The money will be deducted form Hart’s benefits.