Prison for Worksop addict who robbed 88-year-old on mobility scooter of £1,100
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Andrew Merritt approached the pensioner, who knows him and his mother, and asked him for £2 on Potter Street, on August 1, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
When his victim gave him £3.10, the 34-year-old put his arm around his shoulders to prevent him from moving and snatched his wallet.
As the pensioner cried out for help, Merritt walked off smiling and counting the money, before changing his T-shirt and ducking into a nearby property.
When he was arrested, Merritt claimed he sold his victim a bike and had arranged to meet him to collect payment.
The court heard he has 50 previous convictions for 118 offences, 46 of which are theft-related, and has been jailed four times since 2020 for shoplifting, breaching court orders and non-dwelling burglaries.
Digby Johnson, mitigating, said Merritt couldn’t resist the “overpowering” temptation to steal the cash because he owed money to drug dealers.
“He is disgusted with himself and desperately sorry for what he has done,” he said. “He knows that his reputation around Worksop will now be that of someone who has robbed a pensioner. Whatever people make of that, is it is likely to haunt him for years.”
He said Merritt endured a traumatic and violent upbringing but had worked in factories in the past. His offending accelerated when he became unable to cope with the breakdown of a long-term relationship because of his drug abuse.
Since August he has been put on a Methadone prescription and diagnosed with psychotic issues, Mr Johnson added.
Merritt, of Cheapside, Worksop, initially denied robbery but pleaded guilty in October.
On Wednesday, Judge Stuart Rafferty KC told him he has committed criminal offences every year since 2003 and called him a “public menace”.
"You have done precisely without fail what you wanted to do under the influence of drugs or otherwise. You don't care whether people know you or not.
“You have crossed a significant bridge in your criminal career. Quite what steps you take next only you can decide.”
He jailed Merrit for four years and imposed a four-year criminal behaviour order banning him from Worksop town centre.