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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Carlisle pair who stole collapsed OAP's wallet spared prison

These are the two Carlisle men who stole a wallet from a helpless pensioner while he lay unconscious in the street.

Wallet thieves composite photo
Colin Byers, left and Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor, 35, and Colin Byers, 43, stole £150 from the 65-year-old, who had collapsed because of a medical condition. He became ill while walking down Warwick Road, near the city centre, at about 3.45pm on Monday, November 8.

Taylor and Byers, both from Harraby, pleaded guilty to theft at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court.

Peter Harthan, prosecuting, said: “The victim had been to the Halifax bank, on Bank Street, where he withdrew £130 and put it in his wallet.

"He was making his way back to his car when he found himself becoming wobbly, weak and disorientated. The last thing he remembers is crossing the road and leaning against the wall by the post office, when he passed out.”

When the victim came to, a concerned passer-by told him two men had stolen his wallet and run off.

The thieves were later identified as Taylor, who pocketed most of the money, and Byers, who took a £20 share.

Taylor, of Burnett Road, had been walking alone when he saw the pensioner lying on the ground, the court heard.

Geoff Clapp, defending Taylor, said: “He thought the gentleman was drunk and had collapsed, so he went over to see he was alright. As he was there, he saw the wallet was exposed and he took it.”

Taylor was then joined by his friend Byers, of Pennine Way, who left the scene with him.

Byers later showed police where they had disposed of the wallet, which was recovered and returned to its owner.

Mr Clapp added: “Mr Taylor is absolutely disgusted with himself for this offence. Everyone who knows him speaks of him as a quiet, sensible, decent young man who’s made a big mistake by doing what he did.”

Geoff Lockerbie, defending Byers, said: “He shares the disgust of his friend with regard to the offence. At the time, it had been six or seven weeks since he and his partner had last received a benefits payment, so they had been existing on crisis loans.

“But it didn’t prevent him from having some heroin on the day of the offence.”

Taylor was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and a 12-month community order. He was ordered to pay £150 compensation to the victim, £85 court costs, and to attend drug rehabilitation and thinking skills programmes.

Byers was given a 12-month community order, including drug rehabilitation, and ordered to pay £50 compensation and £85 court costs.

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