A DRUG addicted thief who targeted a church voluntary worker and a disabled woman who had helped him, has been jailed for 13 months.

Burnley Crown Court heard Lee Roberts, 33, had been befriended by victim Margaret Richardson, of St Catherine's Church in the town, which offers help and support to local people with drugs and drink issues.

She let him look after her home and dogs while she was on holiday and he stole £1,230 belongings and her £1,200 car.

Roberts had also stolen £85 cash from disabled Linda Sutcliffe, who caught him dipping into her purse after he turned up at her home, asking for jobs.

Roberts went on the run for several weeks after he was due to appear in court and last week handed himself in.

The defendant, of Villiers Street, Burnley, admitted three counts of theft and one of failing to surrender.

Mark Savill, prosecuting, said Ms Richardson thought Roberts was getting to grips with his issues of drugs abuse and offending.

She had known him for 18 months and in the summer of 2012, felt sufficiently confident to invite him to walk her dogs and help with her allotment.

She asked him to her home, offered support and encouragement and gave him a key. The victim went on holiday and let him stay at her home several times.

Philip Holden, for Roberts, said drugs had plainly been his problem and his record demonstrated that.

Sentencing, Judge Andrew Woolman said the offences were ‘extremely mean’.

He said: “You stole from the very person who had helped you.”