Jail for B&B conman and charity box thief

A travelling conman with a “horrendous record” of offending over more than 40 years has been jailed for 24 weeks after he pleaded guilty to making off without payment from a B&B in Robin Hood’s Bay.

Alexander Hewitt, 57, of no fixed abode, checked into the B&B in May this year because it was raining, but left after staying two nights owing £80, Scarborough Magistrates heard.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing a Help for Heroes charity box containing around £32 from a shop in Malton.

Prosecuting, Martin Butterworth said Hewitt had lived “a transient lifestyle” for most of his adult life in which he had travelled around and not lived at any particular address.

He said: “It was raining so he decided to book in. The reason he picked the B&B was because the owner didn’t ask for a credit card.”

The court heard that the B&B owner was left a further £50 out of pocket because he had to change the lock to the door after Hewitt made off with the key.

Hewitt, who is unemployed and survives on benefits of £70 which he collects from post offices, also pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to custody by missing his original court date on July 16.

Mitigating, Michael Sandiford said he hadn’t been able to attend court because he was in Blackpool at the time and couldn’t afford the bus fare.

He said: “The offence which I’m more concerned about is stealing the charity box. He said it was something he would only do when he was desperate for money,”

The court heard that Hewitt had been jailed at Norfolk Magistrates for 11 months in February last year also for two offences of making off without payment and one of theft. On that occasion he had also asked for 11 further matters to be taken into consideration.

Jailing Hewitt, chairman of the bench Mrs A. Clarke told him: “You have a horrendous record! There are numerous offences of dishonesty going back to 1972. The theft of charity box is despicable.”