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Nightmare tenant sentenced after stealing landlord's furnishings

James de Jager

A tenant who stole almost £2,000 of furnishings from his elderly landlord has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Former estate agent James de Jager (pictured,inset), formerly James Becks, stole soft furnishings, bedside tables, lamps, a mirror, and a de-humidifier from a flat in Park End, Oxford, This is Oxfordshire reports.

The theft occurred in October 2019 after de Jager, 44, of Bennett Hill Close, Royal Wootton Bassett, started renting the property in April.

Oxford Crown Court heard that he had been released from prison a few months earlier after being jailed for 18 months for taking out £30,000 of loans in someone else’s name.

When de Jager left the property in November, property managers Finders Keepers found the furnishings missing. He claimed he had taken the items by mistake, but after numerous attempts to recover the attempts, he was arrested.

Landlord statement

Reading an impact statement to the court, landlord John Gitton said he had to spend £1,500 to refurnish the flat and had also lost £3,000 during the period the flat was empty. He alleges that de Jager owes him £9,000 in rent which he is taking to the civil courts. “I feel saddened and worried,” he said. “Saddened someone would act like this and worried it will happen again.”

Defending de Jager, Anita Clifford said the former estate agent had “struggled to reintegrate” into the community after prison and felt “traumatised and alone”.

Judge Maria Lamb told him: “You lied again and again. All this has had a financial impact on Mr Gitton. I accept the huge level of inconvenience caused to him, the significant financial harm and very evidently the emotional distress that there has been.”

De Jager was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, six rehabilitation days and pay £1,000 compensation.

Picture credits: Wiltshire Police/Shutterstock/Andrei Nekrassov

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