A DESPERATE drug addict has been jailed for a spate of crime to fund his habit.

Ian Sephton, 48, appeared at Taunton Crown Court on Wednesday, February 5 to be sentenced for a series of charges relating to incidents in Minehead last year.

The court heard that Sephton robbed an elderly man at a cashpoint, snatched two handbags from unwitting victims and stole hundreds of pounds worth of perfume from shops.

Defending, Will Rose explained that Sephton had worked as a fishmonger in Liverpool, living with his partner and child, before trying cocaine on a night out with friends led him on a downward spiral.

Mr Rose said Sephton went from recreational use of cocaine into addiction and daily use, before eventually moving on to heroin.

At one point he was spending £60 a day to fund his habit, the court heard.

Mr Rose explained that having gotten into debts in Liverpool to drug dealers, Sephton fled the city and ended up in Minehead.

The court heard that in the late spring of 2019 Sephton was living in his car, and later was living in a tent in a wooded area in Minehead, and it was during this period he committed a series of crimes.

Speaking for the prosecution, Christine Hart said: "The most serious incident happened on May 4, 2019.

"The victim, an 80-year-old man went into Minehead and was in the process of withdrawing £350 from a cashpoint at HSBC.

"As he turned to leave, an arm came across his shoulder, grabbed the cash and said 'That is for me'.

"A tussle ensued, the victim's glasses were knocked off and the defendant ran away with the money."

Ms Hart read a statement written by the victim to explain the impact the robbery had on him.

The statement read: "If I were younger I might be able to shake it off, but I am 80, and it has left me feeling vulnerable.

"When I go into to town now I feel wary and anxious.

"I have become more agitated, and those close to me have noticed a change to my normal, laid-back manner."

Ms Hart also outlined that on April 27 last year, Sephton had stolen a handbag from a 77-year-old woman in the car park at Tesco's in Minehead.

"The victim left her handbag briefly on the car seat as she went to help her disabled husband get out of the car," Ms Hart said.

Ms Hart added that Sephton then carried out four contactless transactions with the card before it was cancelled.

The court also heard that Sephton snatched another handbag from a woman at the Hairy Dog pub in Minehead, and on two occasions stole more than £200 worth of perfume from stores in Minehead.

Mr Rose said: "The defendant says these were opportunistic crimes and wants to apologise to the victims.

"He is ashamed of his actions and says he is determined to change."

Mr Rose explained that Sephton had found accommodation in Plymouth in the time since his arrest.

Sentencing, Judge Paul Cook, said he accepted Mr Sephton was remorseful but that his level of addiction meant he was not able to suspend the sentence.

Sephton was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison.