A “sneak-in” burglar used a Carlisle pet shop worker’s credit card to splash out on cigarettes and alcohol.

Mark George Kenney, 39, pleaded guilty to four offences when he appeared at the city’s crown court yesterday.

Kenney admitted burglary having entered Nixon’s pet shop as a trespasser and stolen a purse, cash, driving licence and credit card; and three counts of fraud by false representation.

He entered a private staff area of the Bank Street premises during a “sneak-in” crime on September 6, prosecutor Brendan Burke told Carlisle Crown Court.

A female worker was present, along with the shop manager.

“She noticed a problem at about 4.50pm, and saw some disturbance to her handbag,” said Mr Burke.

There were three missed calls on her phone from her bank.

“It appears almost immediately the defendant had started making use of the contactless facility,” continued Mr Burke.

Kenney had bought about £70 worth of cigarettes and alcohol at several newsagents.

“CCTV was seized and a PC who was familiar with the defendant was able to identify him,” added the prosecutor.

“He was arrested at home, in fact still wearing the same top he was wearing in the shops.”

Kenney’s victim seemed to have taken the matter “in her stride”, the court heard, and was reimbursed by her bank.

Subject to prison licence at the time of his latest crimes, Kenney, of Warwick Road, Carlisle, was said by his lawyer, Mark Shepherd, to be making steps to address his offending and drug-related problems.

“There are signs that Mr Kenney is finally beginning to ‘get it’,” said Mr Shepherd.

“[He is] finally beginning to understand that his actions have consequences, and what the proper and appropriate thing to do is.”

After hearing all submissions, Recorder Robert Lazarus suspended a 274-day jail term for 18 months.

Kenney must complete a rehabilitation requirement and six-month night-time curfew.

“I am satisfied that there are realistic prospects of rehabilitation, and it seems to me the improvement in your drug situation is strong personal mitigation,” said Recorder Lazarus.