A thief who stopped an elderly man in a Nottinghamshire street before robbing him of £1,100 has been jailed.
Andrew Merritt asked the 88-year-old if he could spare a couple of pounds and the pensioner, who was on a mobility scooter, took out his wallet and gave him £3.10.
CCTV footage showed Merritt then hug the man before grabbing the wallet and walking away.
As the elderly man pleaded for it back, Merritt grinned as he counted the large wad of £20 banknotes from inside the wallet. He kept the cash and dumped the wallet.
Nottingham Crown Court heard £1,100 was stolen in the incident, which happened in Potter Street, Worksop, on 1 August this year.
Witnesses went to the elderly man’s aid before calling the police.
An investigation was launched and Merritt was arrested six days later after a police officer recognised Merritt from the CCTV footage.
During a police interview, Merritt denied stealing the money, insisting the elderly man had agreed to purchase a bike from him.
However his account was dismissed and the 34-year-old, of Worksop, was charged with robbery.
He initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty on 6 October.
He appeared at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Wednesday (8 November) and was jailed for four years. He was also given a Criminal Behaviour Order banning him from Worksop town centre for four years and ordered to pay a £228 victim surcharge.
The court heard he has previous convictions relating to 118 offences, including theft, shoplifting, assault, breaching court orders and burglaries.
Following the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Nick Hall, of Nottinghamshire Police, said:
“Merritt’s actions were cowardly in the extreme. He preyed on a vulnerable man knowing he would not be able to stop him making off with his money.
“When he asked for £2, the elderly victim gave him that and more, out of the goodness of his heart.
“It was a kind act of generosity and so it was staggering that Merritt repaid the gentleman’s empathy by robbing him of such a vast amount of money.
“It was an extremely cruel crime and I am pleased Merritt has been made to pay for his appalling actions.
“I hope the outcome at court provides the victim with some comfort in knowing that Merritt can no longer harm anybody in our communities.
“I’d also like to thank the witnesses who came forward with information so that we could put Merritt behind bars.”