A DRUG addict stole his mum's bank card while she was in hospital fighting for her life.

Blackburn magistrates heard the victim was suffering from lung cancer and then contracted Covid-19 resulting in a lengthy spell in hospital.

And she was left 'lost for words' after it was discovered her son had been stealing from her.

Graham Smith, 39, of Whalley Old Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to theft of a bank card and fraudulent use of the card.

He was made subject to a community order for 12 months with a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 10 days' rehabilitation. He was ordered to pay £85 costs and £95 victim surcharge.

Sazeeda Ismail, prosecuting, said Smith was addicted to hard drugs and in the past his mum had done her best to support and help him.

When she went into hospital he asked his sister for the keys to his mother's house so he could go there to get cleaned up and do his laundry. His mother had two spells in hospital and in between she stayed at her daughter's home.

"She received a text message from the bank to say her bank card had been used," said Miss Ismail.

"She contacted her daughter, who had her bank card, but she had not made any purchases.

"The card was due to expire and a new one had been sent to her home to which the defendant had access."

Miss Ismail said there had been a number of transactions, totalling approximately £550.

"The victim said she found it hard to accept that her son had done this to her," said Miss Ismail.

Neil Howard, defending, said the 12 months prior to the offences had been the most difficult in his client's life.

He had split from his long-term partner, began to drink and then started to use drugs.

"It became a full-on addiction to hard drugs, such was the emotional turmoil he was in," said Mr Howard.

"That he committed the offences against his mother is ironic because she was the only one who supported him through this time. He was honest with her about his problems and she did all she could to help him."

Mr Howard said at the time Smith had been sleeping rough and used his mother's address to get cleaned up and wash his clothes.

While he was there he opened some post and found the replacement card.

"He says he made the worst decision of his life when he took the card and used it," said Mr Howard.

"The temptation was simply too much and he knows it was a terrible breach of trust.

"He appreciates the significant distress caused to his mother and his family."