A HOMELESS man stole a gold ring he found on the pavement after raiders smashed their way into a department store and stole £20,000 of jewellery.

Christian Davies was wandering the streets of Abergavenny in the early morning when he came across the dropped booty outside Nicholls on Frogmore Street.

Laurence Jones, prosecuting, said the store was ransacked in a “smash and grab” heist shortly before but the defendant was not connected to the break-in.

He told how the thieves had used a sledgehammer to force their way into the store on October 4, 2018.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how the 41-year-old Davies, formerly of Capel Newydd, Blaenavon, had a “considerable record for dishonesty”.

Mr Jones said the defendant was captured on CCTV bending down to pick up the ring and was later arrested at Abergavenny bus station.

It was recovered and returned to Nicholls.

Davies, who was represented by Timothy Lewis, pleaded guilty to theft.

Probation Service officer Natasha Pattemore told the court about the report she had prepared on him.

She said: “The defendant told me he spent most evenings walking around Abergavenny as it is easier to sleep in the daytime as it is warmer.

“He said he took the ring out of desperation with the intention of selling it.

“The defendant was homeless at the time and didn’t have much in his life.”

The judge, Recorder Paul Lewis QC, was told Davies remains homeless but attempts are being made to find accommodation for him in Torfaen.

Mrs Pattemore said the defendant lives on £190 a month in benefits and occasionally drinks alcohol and takes amphetamines.

Davies “expressed remorse” for stealing the ring.

Recorder Lewis told the defendant his offence did not cross custodial sentencing guidelines.

He said: “Two men broke into Nicholls, they smashed the window and ransacked the premises and over £20,000 worth of jewellery was taken.

“They dropped a ring. You were passing and you discovered that ring and you have pleaded guilty to theft.”

Davies was sentenced to a two-year community order and told he must complete a 12-day rehabilitation and activity requirement.

He must also pay a victim surcharge of £85.