THEY took him in and gave him a roof over his head and he repaid them by stealing their money.

A homeless man welcomed into the home of a Christian family in Southampton stole thousands from them whilst they were on holiday, a court heard.

Lee Pritchard-Jones abused the trust shown by Raymond Clarke and his daughter Karina Athanasea.

Between September 2016 and March 2017, he took money being saved for Ms Athanaseas’s wedding and a charity in Uganda to fuel his alcohol and drug addiction.

Prosecutor James Kellam told the court :”[Pritchard-Jones] earned their trust but when they went away on holiday it went wrong.

“He stole cash saved for Ms Athanaseas wedding and charity money that was going to support people in Uganda. He also stole bank card and ran up debt on those cards.”

The court heard that, Pritchard-Jones, 42, who admitted charges of theft and fraud as well as driving whilst disqualified, stole more than £2,000 from his benefactors.

Mitigating, Joanne Chester told the court that since the incident Mr Clarke had “forgiven Pritchard-Jones– something Judge Henry argued would be “the Christian thing to do and not necessarily forgiveness for the crimes”.

She said Pritchard-Jones had not reoffended since and had attended meetings to help him cope with drug and alcohol issues.

The court heard that since the incident, Ms Athanaseas had married in America and her father had also moved to the USA to continue his Christian work.

Judge Henry said: “This type of offending is despicable against people who extended their kindness to you and you repaid that by stealing money from them.”

The court also heard that Pritchard-Jones stole a car belonging to David Eardley and had knocked over a pedestrian and written off the vehicle.

Pritchard-Jones, of Church Street, Shirley, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to Mr Clarke and Ms Athanaseas and £557 to Mr Eardley.