A man who smashed car windows and stole handbags was spared jail despite breaching a conditional discharge for similar offences.

Peter Thomas Roberts, 51, of Y Wern, Caia Park, broke into two cars on October 29, stealing handbags and contents belonging to victims Lois Jones and Alice Green.

He then used contactless cards to attempt to buy tobacco, scratchcards and milk from two shops in Wrexham town centre.

One of the cards had been cancelled before he was able to successfully buy any items.

The offences were committed while Roberts was subject to a conditional discharge for a similar offence.

Appearing before Wrexham Magistrates’ Court, Roberts pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and a further two of fraud.

He also admitted having committed the offences while subject to a conditional discharge.

Justin Espie, prosecuting, said the value of the theft from Lois Jones was estimated at £110 but there was no value known for the theft of items belonging to Alice Green.

Justine McVitie, defending, conceded Roberts had a very unenviable record.

She said he had been the subject of an assault in HMP Liverpool which had affected him badly.

Roberts felt uncomfortable speaking to people and as a result, was not claiming benefits and struggled financially, which was why he had committed the offences.

Ms McVitie added: “He has not been living the high life.”

Chairman of magistrates, Celia Jenkins, said the matters clearly crossed the custody threshold but drew back from sending Roberts to prison.

For each theft, she imposed an eight-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and to be served concurrently.

And a further eight-week sentence was imposed for the conditional discharge breach.

Roberts was made the subject of a three-month curfew running from 7pm to 7am and he was ordered to pay £200 in compensation to Lois Jones.

No order for compensation to Alice Green was made.

Roberts was told he must pay a £115 victim surcharge but costs were not imposed due to his dire financial circumstances.