AN 81 YEAR-OLD man was followed after collecting his pension from a Stratford post office – and had the money he had to live on for the week snatched from his hand as he got into his car.
The pensioner had been followed out of the post office in Drayton Avenue, by mean robber Michal Szczypka, who had been standing behind him in the queue.
Although he admitted snatching the cash from his victim, Szczypka of Woodlands Road, Stratford, originally pleaded not guilty to robbery, claiming he was only guilty of theft.
But on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court the 31 year-old finally pleaded guilty to the robbery charge – and was jailed for 16 months.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Power said on October 20 last year the victim went out to do some chores including, at a little after midday, collecting his pension.
He parked outside the Squirrel pub in Drayton Road and made his way to the nearby post office, where Szczypka saw him being given his £155 pension.
After briefly asking the cashier about sending a postal order to Poland, Szczypka followed the old man back to his car.
As the pensioner was getting in, still with the money in his hand, Szczypka leaned into the car and grabbed the notes from his hand before running off.
A witness who was looking out from a nearby upstairs window saw what was happening and recognised him as someone who had stayed with one of his neighbours, as a result of which Szczypka was arrested.
As a result of his ordeal the pensioner, who had enjoyed his weekly visits to the post office because it gave him a chance to meet and chat to people there, now has his pension paid directly into his bank account.
The court heard that Szczypka had previous convictions, mainly for offences of theft.
Nick Devine, defending, said Szczypka had been addicted to heroin and crack cocaine, which he could fund while holding down a job.
But when he was not working and the money was not there, he resorted to shoplifting – and when he saw the pensioner with the cash in his hand, he fell to the temptation to snatch it.
Jailing Szczypka, Recorder Charles Foster told him: “The complainant has been shaken by what went on, and is now too fearful to collect his pension in person.
As Szczypka was led from the dock, he turn back towards the judge and said: “I am very sorry for what I have done.”