A DRUG addict's attempt to buy goods with a stolen credit card was foiled by an alert shop assistant, a court heard yesterday.

Sarah Tyrer, prosecuting, told Harrogate magistrates how John McGilvary, 32, attempted to buy tobacco from an off licence in King's Road, Harrogate, using an American Express card, one of three credit cards stolen when a BMW belonging to Keith Whitaker was broken into.

Assistant Samantha-Jane Hanson, who was suspicious of McGilvary's gaunt look and vacant expression, decided he was not the type to have such a card and rang American Express.

She insisted that McGilvary spoke to an operator at the company and Mrs Tyrer said McGilvary, of Mayfield Grove, Harrogate, had, in essence, failed a test American Express had set.

The company told the off licence to keep the card, but the same afternoon McGilvary went into a nearby supermarket with two credit cards and tried to use each to buy 200 cigarettes and two mobile phone cards.

Neither transaction was accepted.

All three cards were in Mr Whitaker's name but when police caught up with him, McGilvary denied he had stolen them. He said he had found them while walking in Dragon Parade, Harrogate.

McGilvary pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted deception and one of handling stolen property.

He was made subject to a year's drug treatment and testing order and told to pay costs of £50.