A DRUG user who followed a woman home and stole her credit cards has been slammed by a judge for his “un-envious record” of offending.

Michael Steward, of Alice Gardens, Rochford, was jailed yesterday after stealing the cards and using them to buy presents for his girlfriend, as well as being caught with a knife.

The 42-year-old was arrested on August 21 this year, a few days after stealing the cards, and was found with a knife as well as 12 wraps of crack cocaine.

He admitted robbery, possession of a knife in a public place and possession of a controlled Class A drug – namely crack cocaine.

Steward was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court yesterday to eight months behind bars.

Judge Samantha Leigh said: “Mr Steward you are now 42 years old and have an un-envious record of offending.

“You are here because of matters which saw you follow home a victim and steal their belongings, including bank cards.

“Soon after, an hour or so later, you began using the bank cards to buy several items with your girlfriend.”

Defence barrister Kevin Toomey appeared in court to mitigate for Steward, pointing to his drug addiction and insisted he is remorseful for the offences.

He added: “Your honour I make a respectful submission that Mr Steward has expressed to me remorse for his behaviour.

“Mr Steward has a long standing addiction to crack cocaine.

“He has been on and off the drug since 2016 but has since fallen off the wagon recently.

“This fall off has contributed to his offending as he stole to feed his drug habit.

“I ask for 25 percent credit off his sentence for his guilty plea.”

Judge Leigh added: “Had you had a trial on these matters, the sentence would have been for 12 months.

You are also subject to a minimum sentence on these matters.”

Judge Leigh sentenced Steward to eight months on all counts running concurrently for a total sentence of eight months in prison.

A forfeiture and destruction order has also been made for the cocaine wraps and knife found in his possession when arrested.