A DRUG addict who stole £3.50 from an eight-year-old girl has been locked up for more than four years.
Naseer Ismail Laher also took letters destined for her brother serving in Afghanistan and a purse which belonged to her grandmother who had died weeks beforehand.
On Monday, Judge Christopher Batty said: “It doesn’t get much lower than that, does it?”
He also criticised 31-year-old Laher for denying the robbery of Chelsea Dixon for so long.
The offence took place in Batley Carr in March, but it was not until just before a trial in July that Laher pleaded guilty.
Judge Batty said: “You never thought to put that poor girl out of her misery by admitting the robbery.”
Leeds Crown Court heard Laher was ‘hungry’ for his next fix when he spotted Chelsea in an alley. She was going to the post office near her home with the purse and letters intended for her brother, who was in Afghanistan with the armed forces.
Laher grabbed her by the wrist, tightened his grip when she tried to resist and then made off with the purse and letters which have never been recovered. Chelsea ran home crying and upset.
Prosecutor Shamaila Qureshi said Laher, of Warwick Road, Batley, was subject to a community order for breaking into a relative’s home and stealing a phone. He had a long list of convictions for offences such as dishonesty and assault.
In a statement, Chelsea’s mum Amanda Dixon said: “She slept with me for a while as she couldn’t bear to be alone. She feels the need to be with someone all the time. But she is most upset about the purse as she was close to her gran. It will take her a long time to get over this.”
Anastasis Tasou, mitigating, said: “This is a man addicted to heroin and cocaine. How low must he have been to commit such a despicable and mean theft for the paltry sum of £3.50?
“That day he had spent up on getting to court. He felt withdrawal effects and a determination to get the next fix. He came across this poor girl and that was it, an opportunity to satisfy the hunger he felt.”
Mr Tasou said Laher, who had been mired in drugs for years, now realised what he had done and wanted to apologise.
Judge Batty said: “Chelsea would have been proud to be on a big girl’s errand with her gran’s purse. She was easy prey.”
Revoking the community order, he jailed Laher for 45 months for the robbery and a further six months for the phone theft.
Det Con Paul Greatorex, of Kirklees CID, said: “We are glad to see Laher behind bars where he deserves to be.”