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A YOUNG thief was caught out by the quick-thinking and creativity of his 60-year-old victim, who set up video cameras in her home to catch him in the act.

Gillian Bannerman set up motion-activated cameras in her house near Llancoudy after noticing £180 had gone missing from her purse, Hereford Magistrates Court heard on Friday.

Christian Jones, 19, was one of a team of builders working on Mrs Bannerman’s house in March, and had been on site both days that money had been lifted from her handbag, Jackie Rogers, prosecuting told the court.

Looking to confirm her suspicions, Mrs Bannerman hid video cameras in her kitchen, leaving her handbag unattended on the table with £100 in her purse as bait.

Sure enough, when she watched back the video, Jones, from Carberling Court, Monmouth, could be clearly seen going into the handbag, opening her purse and taking the cash.

Chris Read, defending, told the court that Jones was desperate.

His father had died suddenly, aged just 43, and it fell on Jones’ young shoulders to support his mother, who only works part-time, and his younger siblings.

“His motivation was to provide money for his family,” said Mr Read.

When confronted by Mrs Bannerman, he immediately gave back the £100, and is very remorseful, the court heard.

He pleaded guilty to taking the money and was ordered by head magistrate Julia Steel to repay the remaining £180 as part of a 12-month community order.

This will include 40 hours of unpaid work, which Jones – ¬ who now works 13-hour days, six days a week building chalets on a new resort – will fit in on his day off.

Fines and surcharges mean the total Jones has to pay rises to £325.