A BLIND man who had some luck with a bet on the horses was relieved of most of his winnings by a man who had gone to the bookies specifically to help him collect his windfall.

Blackburn magistrates heard Christopher Gordon Green pocketed £220 of the winnings and then ran from the shop when the cashier told the lucky punter he only had £160 to put in a gaming machine.

Green, 46, of Dunoon Drive, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to theft from Zulfiqar Shah.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months with a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 15 days’ rehabilitation. He was ordered to pay £300 compensation to Mr Shah.

Sentencing Green, the chairman of the magistrates said the only reason for Green being there had been to assist the blind victim.

“You were asked to assist Mr Shah and instead robbed him of £220,” she said.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said Mr Shah was totally blind.

He liked to attend William Hill in Blackburn and have a bet and on the day of the incident both his horses had won.

“A friend called Diana usually helps him and he rang her,” said Mr Robinson.

“She said she couldn’t attend but would send a friend to assist.

“Green identified himself as that friend and Mr Shah gave him the money to cover his taxi fare.”

He also gave Green his betting slips to collect his winnings and was handed some money, but not all of it.

“By the time the cashier alerted Mr Shah, Green had left.

He later told police voices in his head had told him to take the money.

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said his client, who had only been in court once in his life, had mental health issues but understood that he had let himself down badly.

“He had not been taking his medication and was hearing voices in his head,” said Mr Taylor.

“His friend, Diana, asked him to go and assist Mr Shah and he found himself presented with a rather unusual opportunity.

“He soon realised what he had done, panicked and left the shop.

“He is in many ways quite a vulnerable person himself.”