A PERSISTENT offender who has targeted vulnerable victims has been jailed and banned from asking people for money in Basingstoke after taking £100 from a man with a mental health disorder.

Jody Silver received the anti-social behaviour order at Winchester Crown Court, having admitted taking the money from the wallet of David Corfield.

The court heard the victim, who has bipolar disorder, first met Silver on September 19 this year, when he went to St Michael’s Church for shelter when experiencing a manic depressive episode.

Peter Asteris, prosecuting, said he found Silver in the church taking drugs, and after a conversation, the victim agreed to lend Silver £50, which he then withdrew from a cash machine at Top of The Town.

Following a spell in prison, Silver approached Mr Corfield in Festival Place on January 3 this year and saw him withdraw £200 from a cash machine.

Mr Asteris said the victim made it clear he did not want Silver to have any of the money, but Silver then started to follow him, getting on the same bus and exiting at the same stop.

He said: “The defendant approached the victim, put his hand inside the victim’s coat pocket, took out the wallet, and appears to have taken £100 of the £200 and then put the wallet back.

“It’s right to say Mr Corfield himself believes he was targeted due to his vulnerable condition. He says he never gave permission, and in addition to the £100, the £50 owed to him is still outstanding.”

The court heard Silver had a long history of theft and harassment offences, including the robbery of a man with learning difficulties in a Basingstoke underpass.

He added: “The Crown say this is deliberate targeting of people who have vulnerable personalities or are vulnerable because of their circumstances.”

Charles Cochand handed the judge a letter from Silver, and said the defendant took mood stabilising medication for his anxiety problems.

Recorder Simon Foster gave Silver a three-month jail term, and said the ASBO will last for three years.

Explaining the sentence to Silver, Mr Foster said: “It’s because of what you have been doing time and time again, pestering not just people but vulnerable people.

“To put it bluntly, you should not be doing that because in some ways you are vulnerable yourself.”

After the hearing, PC John Nelson, the officer-in-charge of the case, said: “This was a cowardly crime against a vulnerable member of public.

Hampshire Constabulary is committed to working to stamp out all forms of hate crime, and to ensure that criminals who target vulnerable or disabled people in our society are dealt with appropriately.”