A burglar “betrayed the trust” of a family who tried to help her after seeing her “shivering outside” on a cold, rainy night.

Marie Beveridge, 46, had been just outside the family’s house in Daubhill on November 13 this year.

Bolton Crown Court heard how the father had been on his way to mosque, with his wife staying home to prepare a meal for them and their children, when he saw Beveridge sat outside.

Prosecutor Eleanor Gleeson said: “He told his wife that there was an old lady sat outside, shivering.”

The wife then brought Beveridge a cup of hot tea, only to be followed back into the house without giving her permission.

Asian Image: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

But, Ms Gleeson said, the woman “felt sorry” for the cold and shivering Beveridge and allowed her to sit in the house before going back to prepare the meal.

Ms Gleeson said: “She was in the kitchen for less than a minute but when she came back she saw that her wallet was not where she left it.”

Beveridge had shut herself in the toilet and when the woman made her way in she found the defendant sat inside looking through her wallet.

According to Ms Gleeson, the woman said: “I felt sorry for you and gave you a hot tea and let you use my toilet, now you have taken my wallet.”

Beveridge turned out to have £5 stashed inside her underwear.

The husband then arrived home and they were able to restrain Beveridge, who has 15 previous convictions for 36 offences, until the police arrived.

On being arrested, Beveridge turned out to have another £10 stashed in her underwear.

At first she denied her crime, claiming the money was her own when interviewed by police, but pleaded guilty to burglary when brought before Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court.

Dressed in a red Christmas jumper with the words “Snow What” stitched into it, Beveridge looked on via video link from prison as Ms Gleeson read a moving statement from the homeowners.

She said: “This has made me very sad, we already help the homeless.”

She added: “We tried to help this lady and she betrayed that trust.”

Ben Berkson, defending argued that Beveridge deserved credit for pleading guilty and said that her crime was “opportunistic” and born of “desperation.”

He said that she was homeless and had tried to stay at shelters around Bolton.

Mr Berkson said: “But she was knocked back on the basis that there were simply no beds available.”

He also claimed Beveridge was “remorseful” and wanted to apologise to her victims.

He said: “She understands fully that she betrayed the kindness and trust that they gave to her that night.”

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But Judge Jon Close reminded the 46-year-old of the effect she had had not only on the family, but the community itself.

He said: “The damage you did was to undermine the trust of somebody who was just trying to help somebody.”

He added: “By doing that you weaken our whole society, because our society works best when we try to help each other, when we hold out the hand of kindness.”

Judge Close sentenced Beveridge to a total of 20 months in prison.