DRUG addict Eugene Devereux thought he was on to a nice little earner when he was approached in the street and told that if he used a stolen credit card to buy a £989.99 laptop computer he would be paid a fee.

But Devereux, 38, was instructed to make the purchase in a shop where he was a video club member. He was recognised by suspicious staff and when he could not answer security questions about to the card he fled, Peter Scott, prosecuting, told Harrogate magistrates yesterday.

Mr Scott said Devereux, of Bower Court, Harrogate, who admitted attempted deception, was arrested soon after leaving PPC Computers in Haywra Crescent. But after his shopping "disaster" he had already thrown the card away.

Geoffrey Rogers, for Devereux, said he had been given the card by an unknown man minutes before and told he would be paid - but not a huge amount - if he used it to buy a laptop.

But the chances of the enterprise succeeding had not been high because shop staff knew his true identity, as a member of their video club.

After hearing Devereux was not sufficiently motivated to quit his drugs habit to be made subject to a drug treatment and testing order, court chairman David Davies put him on probation for a year and ordered payment of £115 costs. He told Devereux that while the Bench could not order him on to a drug dependency course it strongly recommended he sought help from the Harrogate Alcohol and Drugs Agency.