War veteran stole £900 from crying neighbour, 86, then jetted off on holiday

A Gulf War veteran has avoided prison after snatching his elderly neighbour's life savings before jetting off abroad on holiday.

Andrew Rolfe, 63, had come into the house to comfort his neighbour whose friend had recently died.

After offering to make a cup of tea for his sobbing neighbour Rolfe snuck into her bedroom and snatched £900 from a secret drawer.

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The elderly victim had noticed that the kettle was not boiling before she found Rolfe suspiciously with his hand behind his back.

Sumreen Afsar, prosecuting said that he left abruptly after this.

The 86-year-old had built up a good relationship with Rolfe before the incident and even trusted him with her house's keys.

After returning from holiday Rolfe decided to hand himself into the police.

The veteran had been deployed during the first Gulf War in Iraq. His army service lasted from 1976 to 1994.

When he appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court on Thursday he admitted theft in a dwelling.

Chairman of the bench, Simon Egerton, said: "You had a high degree of trust and responsibility.

"The victim, just simply by her age, is vulnerable."

He was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £185 costs, a £154 victim surcharge and £900 compensation.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she would have given him the money if he'd asked for it.

Elle May Macey prosecuting has said that he had shown remorse and has "tried to put it right".

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