A MAN who stole more than £16,000 from his grandmother has been jailed for a year.

Salisbury Crown Court heard on Monday that Richard Winters’ grandmother let him stay with her in 2011 because he had nowhere else to go and had been sleeping on sofas at friends’ houses.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said: “She gave him a bed and a roof over his head and he repaid her by ripping through her bank account.”

The court heard Winters, 30, of Churchfields Road, got access to his grandmother’s bank card and used her account over a period of about 12 months to withdraw cash and pay bills, for general living expenses and expenses “over and above that”, such as drugs.

In total he spent £16,372 and was caught when the bank and his uncle became suspicious.

He was arrested in August last year and admitted to police he had been using the account. Once he was and no longer living with his grandmother he would still visit her daily to check the post and intercept any letters that looked like they had come from the bank.

A victim impact statement from his grandmother was read out to the court which said she had lost her trust in him and had not been able to sleep but even though he stole from her “he’s my grandson and I still love him”.

Defending Winters, David Chapman said he was very remorseful for what he had done and hadn’t been allowed to see his grandmother since his arrest. He told the court Winters struggles to get work as he doesn’t have any qualifications and he had been greatly affected by the death of his daughter six years ago and a “persistent” problem with alcohol.

Recorder Alastair Malcolm QC said: “This is a nasty offence. Your grandmother gave you somewhere to live and you thanked her by pilfering her bank account over a considerable period of time.”

Winters admitted theft and fraud and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, plus another month for breaching a suspended sentence order.