A THIEF stole a 68-year-old woman’s £850 disability allowance from her handbag when she turned her back after playing on a fruit machine at an amusement arcade.

Jamie Dyas had started chatting to his victim before he took the money when she went to use another machine at Carousel in Cwmbran.

The theft on October 4 last year was captured on CCTV and was the start of a crime spree he went on in the town over the following two months.  

William Bebb, prosecuting, said Dyas had then targeted a Tesco Express in Cwmbran less than a week later.

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He told Newport Crown Court: “The defendant ran out of the store with a basket full of goods but he fell over and some of the items fell out.

“A Tesco employee went to recover the goods but Dyas pushed her twice and threatened that he would ‘knock her out.’

“He got into her face and pushed her and she stumbled and fell back and hit a wall.

“The defendant left with the basket of goods and the police were called.”

Employee Angela Gwyn made a victim impact statement in which she revealed that other members of staff had also been attacked by shoplifters at the store.

She said: “I don’t come to work to be assaulted.

“It’s come to the point where I turn up to work wondering what’s going to happen that day.”

On December 4, 2023, Dyas was captured on CCTV trying to burgle a couple’s house and steal from two cars parked on their drive on Pen-Y-Waun Road.

When he was arrested a few days later, police found an assortment of stolen goods at the defendant’s home.

They included passports, fishing rods, a TV, car radio and a Puma bag.

Dyas, 32, of Oakdale Path, St Dials, Cwmbran pleaded guilty to attempted burglary, theft, assault by beating, handling stolen goods and attempted theft from a motor vehicle.

The offences took place between October 4, 2023 and December 6, 2023.

He has 32 previous convictions for 68 offences and they include burglary, wounding, robbery and assaulting a police officer.

Pamela Kaiga representing Dyas said her client has problems with drug addiction but had been working to combat them while being remanded in custody.

She added: “He’s keen to tackle his substance misuse.

“The defendant no longer wants to live like this.

“There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in his case.”

The judge, Recorder David Elias KC, agreed and jailed Dyas for 20 months but suspended that sentence for 18 months.

The defendant will have to attend 19 sessions of a “Thinking Skills” programme and complete a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also made the subject of a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and has to pay a £187 victim surcharge.