A fleet-footed fox nabbed a man’s wallet but dropped it in the street – where it was found by a cyclist who used the bank cards inside to splurge on cigarettes and alcohol.

Prosecutor Anne Sawyer-Brandish told Oxford Magistrates’ Court that the four-legged larcenist was caught on camera sloping off with the wallet, which had fallen to the ground when its owner opened his car door.

READ MORE: Trial for finger bite accused

She said: “The victim checked his CCTV and he saw that at 9.58pm a fox took his wallet from underneath his vehicle and took it away.

“[The fox] leaves the wallet in the middle of the road and at 10.01pm a male on the bicycle stops and picks up the wallet, puts the contents in his pocket and cycles off.”

The cyclist proved to be 36-year-old Qasim Hussain, who 10 minutes later used the card at the BP garage on Oxford Road, Cowley, spending £70 across two transactions. The card was used in another Cowley Road shop at around 10.30pm before a fourth transaction was declined. The money went on cigarettes and alcohol.

Appearing before the magistrates’ court this week, Hussain, of Hurst Street, Oxford, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.

He also admitted stealing £120-worth of alcohol from Sainsbury’s in Templars shopping centre on January 26 this year and chocolate worth £240 from the Park End Street Sainsbury’s last June.

Ms Sawyer-Brandish said Hussain had 45 previous convictions. He was in court last May for shoplifting and, the year before, was given a community order.

Oxford Mail: Qasim Hussain leaves Oxford Magistrates' CourtQasim Hussain leaves Oxford Magistrates' Court

Nawaz Khan, mitigating, said of the fraud offence: “This matter relates to the opportunistic finding with the aid of a creature, madam, a fox, [that] took the wallet and left it in the middle of the road.

“Mr Hussain just happened to be passing by and rode over the wallet, stopped and found this credit card in the there and unfortunately he does then succumb to temptation.”

The court heard Hussain had previously struggled with drug abuse but was now working with addiction charity Turning Point and receiving a methadone prescription. He gave a clean drug test result on the morning of his court appearance.

READ MORE: Teen robber jailed for three years

Mr Khan described his client as ‘a man who’s changed in many ways and is keen to avoid the criminal justice system going forward’.

Imposing a 12 month conditional discharge, chairman of the bench Kay Whitaker said: “We have noted that you have a substantial and lengthy history of offending.

“However, you have tried hard to reduce that and we are impressed you are attending Turning Point and impressed you have produced a negative test today. I don’t underestimate the challenge of addressing a long-standing drug addiction.”  

 He was ordered to pay £250 compensation to Sainsbury’s and a £22 victim surcharge.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on news@nqo.com or 01865 425 445.