A TRADESMAN stole cash from an Eglwyswrw couple while working in their home, a court has heard.

Mark Phillips, of Church Lane, Newcastle Emlyn, pleaded guilty to theft when he appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday.

Sian Vaughan, prosecuting, told the court that Phillips took around £1,000 from a plastic wallet kept in a drawer, while installing a fireplace at the Eglwyswrw house between July 31 and August 4.

She added that the couple was generally at home during that time, but had to leave on occasions, and only Phillips had access to the property.

Finger-prints belonging to Phillips were recovered from the wallet, and the court heard that he had previous convictions for theft.

Mike Kelleher, defending, told the bench that Phillips was due to start work as an agricultural contractor, which would enable him to pay compensation, but was currently unemployed.

The court heard that Phillips had been under pressure to pay a large debt at the time of the offence, and was remorseful for his actions.

Phillips was given a 12 month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay £1,000 compensation, £85 court costs and an £85 surcharge.