A MAN who stole a woman's handbag from her home before using her bank card to buy scratchcards has been jailed.

Thomas Coker, 25, was sentenced to two years and seven months in prison at Bournemouth Crown Court last week after admitting burglary and two charges of fraud.

It was heard Coker burgled a semi-detached home off the A354 near Sixpenny Handley. The victim, a woman in her 60s, was asleep at home and awoke at 3.40pm on June 27 to discover a voicemail message which said there had been suspicious activity on her card.

She then discovered her bag, which contained her bank cards, had been stolen from the house.

Just before 4pm, the victim received a further call reporting suspicious activity on her credit card. She then called police.

Officers investigating the theft discovered the cards had been used in Coombe Bissett Stores near Salisbury.

A total of five transactions totalling £115.60 had been carried out to purchase scratchcards and food.

Detectives then looked through the store's CCTV footage. Officers spotted a man and woman arrive in a silver Peugeot 307 before carrying out the transactions.

Bank records also showed a further transaction at the One Stop Store in nearby Harnham, with five scratchcards purchased for £25.

The card was also declined at In-Excess Store in Harnham.

CCTV at those stores showed the same man and woman attending the stores.

Police in Salisbury stopped the Peugeot 307 on the evening of Wednesday, June 28.

Coker, of Devizes Road in Salisbury, was then arrested on suspicion of burglary. He was later charged.

Cayley Tuxworth, 25 and of Devizes Road in Salisbury, was charged with two counts of fraud in relation to the use of the bank cards. She was handed a six-month conditional discharge at Poole Magistrates’ Court this month after admitting the offences.

PC Chris Raspini of Dorset Police said: “Dwelling burglaries can be very distressing for victims and we are committed to bringing offenders such as Coker to justice.

“I would also like to remind residents that they can take a number of simple crime prevention measures, such as keeping windows secure and doors locked even when you are at home, to help protect your home from burglars.”