A WINDOW cleaner stole from a female customer on his round after she let him in to use her toilet, a court heard.

Russell Peter Stansfield, 33, was later found in Colne town centre with a knife stuffed down his sock.

The defendant, who had never been in trouble before, admitted theft in a house, possessing a knife blade in public,failing to surrender and damage.

Stansfield, of Albert Road, Colne, was given 12 weeks in jail, suspended for a year and must pay £92 compensation and £80 costs.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said the defendant stole from the customer who had given him lifts in the past and had breached her trust.

Police received reports of a man said to be carrying a knife in Colne at 3pm.

An officer arrived, saw the defendant in Market Street and when he was searched, he had an eight inch bladed kitchen knife down his sock.

Mr Parker said Stansfield told officers he had been to his parents' house to collect his washing, had found the knife on a barbecue in the back yard and put it down his sock on the way home.

Nick Cassidy, defending, said custody would be at the forefront of the court's mind but Stansfield could be allowed to work with the probation service.

He had a drug problem which he had been able to control, but it had taken grip recently.

Stansfield had had no intention to steal from the customer when he went to her house and he regretted his actions.

He had only stolen a small number of possessions.

Mr Cassidy added the defendant, who had been living in a Colne guest house, had used the knife to open a bag of laundry at his parents' home.

He said: “He had a hole in his pocket so that's why he put it in his sock.”