A HOMELESS man caught stealing from cars when he was spotted by a milkman on his rounds acted "out of desperation", a court heard.

Jamie Turner was one of two men arrested and charged with theft after Robert Fitton saw them trying car doors in Corner Brook, Chew Moor, in the early hours yesterday (Wednesday).

The 30-year-old had been living at a house in Great Lever following a previous stint in prison but was forced to leave and begin living on the streets.

It was even suggested by his defence lawyer that time in prison would help him because he would have a "roof over his head".

Turner and Lee Mullineux, of Calvert Road, Great Lever, were caught with a bracelet, rucksack and ID card that they had taken from a car. They pleaded guilty to the theft.

A statement from the victim of the theft was read out in Bolton Magistrates Court, she said: "It's made me feel anxious and vulnerable that somebody has been on my property when I'm asleep and taken my belongings.

"They could have been a threat to me and my family."

The Bolton News:

Turner also pleaded guilty to another crime involving the fraudulent use of two stolen bank cards on which he made purchases of £90, mostly on food.

Defending him, Peter Leather told the court that the thefts were made out of "desperation" after leaving his last home.

"Unfortunately, he was required to leave that address and that has seen his life go downhill very badly indeed," he said.

"Five or six nights a week he has been sleeping rough on the streets and in this town trying to survive in winter in the cold and the wet with no roof over your head can't be easy.

"He's been trying to survive day after day."

He added: "He's homeless, destitute and not in a good condition. It may well be that a period in custody might improve his health because he will have a roof over his head."

Turner was handed a 16-week prison sentence and ordered to pay £90.

Mullineux, aged 30, who was also involved in the theft, is currently awaiting sentencing at Manchester Crown Court for a separate crime, also to do with theft.

His final sentence was delayed following a hearing in Bolton on February 12 but he was ordered to wear an electronic tag to monitor a curfew which will keep him in his home between 7pm and 7am each night.