A drug addict stole an 85-year-old woman’s handbag and went on a spending spree using her bank cards. 

The elderly lady had been giving Michael Higgins £10 or £20 notes every few weeks for two years, seemingly of her own accord as she saw him as a friend. 

But not content with that, 44-year-old Higgins decided to steal her handbag and rack up a £145 bill on her cards. 

On Monday (November 27) Higgins, of Thames Street in Greenwich, was jailed for two years and four months. 

Prosecutor Martin Ingle told Woolwich Crown Court that the 85-year-old woman was living by herself and has been described by neighbours as vulnerable and forgetful. 

Mr Ingle said: “The victim describes having met Mr Higgins in Greenwich two years ago, and they became friends. 

“He had been coming to her home every two or three weeks. He wouldn’t come in, he would wait outside and she would give him some money. That was seemingly done willingly.” 

On October 3 this year she left him waiting in her porch area while she went to get some money. 

“Her handbag was inside the porch. He stuffed it inside a bag he was carrying and then left the scene,” Mr Ingle said. 

Higgins immediately went to a number of shops and spent £145 on various bank cards which were in her handbag. 

The elderly lady later assumed she had lost her cards when she went shopping and cancelled them. 

But one of her neighbours checked their Ring doorbell footage and realised Higgins had stolen her bag. 

Higgins was later arrested and was picked out on an ID parade. 

The court heard that he has 29 convictions for 58 offences – a mixture of assaults, harassments and thefts. 

Nadia Semlali, defending Higgins, said: “Sadly the defendant does have a drug addiction and this has led to the commission of this offence and he is deeply remorseful for his actions. 

She said it was an impulsive action rather than pre-planned. 

Ms Semlali said: “He is addressing his drug issues while in custody and he says he is benefitting from that greatly.” 

Mr Recorder Maxwell-Scott KC, sitting as judge, sentenced Higgins to two years and four months in prison.