Man who spent gift cards he found on Northampton street convicted for ‘theft by finding’

Northampton Magistrates Court NNL-150303-120601001
Northampton Magistrates Court NNL-150303-120601001

A seasonal Northampton Royal Mail worker who used a bundle of gift cards he found on his way home to buy goods was told he could face unpaid work.

James Barker, of Wheatfield Road, Northampton, claimed to have found around 20 gift cards on Overstone Road in December last year.

But yesterday the 24-year-old appeared at Northampton Magistrates’ Court to plead guilty to an offence of theft by finding as well as three counts of fraud.

The court heard that after stumbling upon the cards, Barker was spotted on CCTV buying goods using four of them in Next, Marks and Spencers and Waitrose, on three consecutive days in Northampton in December.

Chairman of the magistrates, Peter Riley, deferred sentencing until Wednesday, August 12, to give probation services time to draw up reports on Barker.

Mr Riley said: “As a whole we take the view this is probably serious enough for a community penalty.”

Barker, who the court heard was of previously good character, admitted the offences during his first police interview.

Defending for Barker, Ammo Bains, said: “This was an opportunistic offence by Mr Barker.

“He found the cards on the way home and foolishly he decided to spend some of them.

“Financially things were tight at home, he was only doing casual work for the Royal Mail.

“He didn’t purchase extravagant gifts, he purchased clothing for his daughter and for his family.”

The purchased clothing has since been seized.