A LOVE of takeaways and computer games led to one man stealing the details of his severely paralysed uncle’s bank account to order goods online.

Steven Iverson spent more than £2,000 of his uncle’s cash over a six month period from January 11 until he was eventually caught out in June this year.

The 31-year-old took a bank card out of a handbag belonging to his cousin – who had control of their uncle’s finances – and took a photograph of the front and back before returning it.

Teesside Crown Court heard his spending spree came to end when the suspicious spending activity was discovered and family members decided to challenge Iverson, who had previous convictions for fraud.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said the majority of the money fleeced from his uncle, who is paralysed from the neck down, was used to pay for takeaways, Google play and Playstation gaming.

He said the defendant, of Leamington Parade, Hartlepool, had also ordered goods from Argos, picking them up and immediately taking them to Cash Converters to exchange them for money.

In a victim impact statement, Iverson’s cousin, said she no longer looks after her uncle’s finances. Mr Soppitt said: “His actions have left her shocked and disgusted at the thought that someone I thought could be trusted would do something like this to his uncle.”

He added: “The victim has been targeted because of his vulnerability, solely because he has to rely entirely on others.”

Iverson pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by false representation.

Stephen Constantine, mitigating, said his client, who plans to get married next year, had been unemployed for two years when he started using his uncle’s bank details.

“He really did hit financial dire straits and had to rely on his partner for everything,” he added. “What started out as an impulsive action got worse; he repeated the action and dug himself deeper and deeper.

“There was no extravagant purchases like holidays or the like.”

He added: “He wanted to say sorry to his uncle and his cousin but neither of them want anything to do with him and he has sensibly not approached them.”

Judge Deborah Sherwin sentenced Iverson to 12 months in custody, suspended for two years and ordered him to pay back the money that he spent.

He was also ordered to carry out 280 hours of unpaid work.

She said: “You have been very lucky, if you are dishonest again, you will be going down the stairs behind you (into custody) and not the one leading outside.”