A man broke into his own grandmother’s home, stealing her handbag and then using her stolen bank card to buy cigarettes, a court heard.
Robert Sims is alleged to have forced his way into his relative’s property on Canvey Island with an accomplice while she sat watching TV.
Basildon Crown Court heard on Tuesday (November 9) that the 29-year-old of High Road, Fobbing, Essex, had rummaged through various kitchen cupboards. The court heard he searched cupboards where he knew his grandmother’s late-partner had previously stored cash, before taking the handbag.
The prosecution alleged he then, while wearing a Nike hoodie and disposable face mask, tried to withdraw cash using her card and also buy cigarettes from a venue in Vange before the woman had a chance to cancel it.
Sims was identified by family members when Essex Police issued an appeal to identify him on social media, the jury was told.
He denies burglary and fraud.
Prosecuting, Edmund Blackman told the jury that the burglary happened on December 17, 2020.
He said: “She was on her own at 8pm and heard a bang and two men suddenly came into her bungalow.
“She didn’t get a good look at their faces, and saw what they were wearing.
“They said ‘we are not going to hurt you’. She was sitting in the chair watching TV. They went through kitchen cupboards, they took her handbag, she saw them do that.
“What’s the significance of the cupboards under the sink? A strange place for burglars to target you may think.
“Her late husband was to keep cash in the house and it used to be found under the sink. That was well known amongst the family. That’s something the defendant would have known.”
Mr Blackman said later that same day attempts were made to withdraw funds on the bank card in Vange, with CCTV recording the incidents, with one showing three men around a cashpoint with one of them trying to use the card.
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Showing the footage to the jury, Mr Blackman said the man was wearing a hood and face mask meaning his face was obscured, but the prosecution’s alleges they can confidently say it is Sims.
He said: “Police put out a witness appeal on social media and took two images from the footage, putting it up on social media for anyone that could identify that from the CCTV.
“Two people did identify this defendant, his own two family members.
“They positively said it’s this defendant, they recognised him.
“It will be for you to decide if you’re sure it’s him in the CCTV and him that committed the burglary.”
The trial continues.
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