A RECOVERING heroin addict stole £3,000 from a victim of last summer's flooding whose house he was repairing, to pay off drug dealers threatening his family.

Kevin Wood, 33, of Heath Close, Headington, Oxford, admitted a charge of theft when he appeared at Didcot Magistrates' Court.

Clare Barclay, prosecuting, said Wood worked as a contractor on a house in South Hinksey last November, repairing damage caused by flooding.

He stole a blank cheque from a drawer and it was used to pay £3,000 into his bank account, Miss Barclay added.

She said: "The aggrieved checked her bank account and discovered this.

"Inquiries by police discovered fingerprints from Mr Wood's girlfriend and he was later traced as a result. The victim has been reimbursed by her bank."

Jan Matthews, defending, said Wood was a former heroin addict who was trying to rebuild his life.

But last year drug dealers were still chasing Wood for debts and threatened to harm his family and girlfriend, he added.

Mr Matthews said: "Mr Wood became very scared and although he now knows he should have gone to the police, he made a very grave mistake.

"He took the money out of his bank account and gave it directly to the drug dealers to get them away from his family and partner. He thoroughly regrets what he did."

Sentencing was adjourned until Thursday, May 29, for reports to be prepared. Wood was granted bail.