Man stole money after bank card wrongly sent to his home

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A man who stole more than £1,000 after using a bank card belonging to another person which had been erroneously sent to his home address has been given a suspended four-month prison sentence.

Christopher William Clarke (22), of Mill House, Priory Gardens, Larne, admitted charges of theft and interfering with mail to the detriment of the receiver, when he appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

The court was told that in July the injured party discovered that £1,050 had been transferred from his account using a card.

It transpired that the injured party’s new bank card and PIN number had been sent to the defendant’s address by mistake.

When interviewed by police, the defendant admitted using the card once before the card was taken by a cash machine.

Barrister Stephen Law described Clarke’s actions as an “opportunistic” offence which came about after the letter containing the card had come to the defendant’s address.

“He opened it, which he should not have, and then saw the opportunity to utilise the card.

“He does appreciate the impact this had on the lawful recipient,” added Mr Law.

District Judge Peter King said: “Anyone who interferes with mail and then tries to benefit financially from that will always face a prison sentence.”

The judge said, however, that due to the fact that Clarke had a completely clear record, he was prepared to suspend the operation of the sentence for two years.

Mr King added that while it was the bank, rather than the injured party, who had suffered the “financial hit”, there was “no prospect” of the defendant repaying the money.