Addict’s £1000 theft ‘has wrecked family business’

THE mother of a drug addict who posed as a window cleaner to con residents into paying for work not carried out has spoken of her fears his actions have ruined her husband’s business.

Steven Walton, whose father David owns a window cleaning business, targeted regular city customers to fund his heroin addiction.

His victims included an 82-year old woman, from whose bank card he stole £1000 after she entrusted it to him.

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Yesterday, at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the 36-year-old was placed on a drug treatment and testing order for 18 months.

Walton, who has been a heroin addict since he was at school, was recently released from custody in Saughton.

Today his mother Ann Walton, from Sighthill, said: “Steven used to work for my husband. People are going to read this and not want my husband’s services. This being in the open will really affect our business and my husband’s business.”

She said the family have stayed clear of him for some time.

She said: “I’ve had really nothing to do with him much, because of what happened.”

Yesterday, Sheriff Alistair Noble heard Walton had previously pleaded guilty to stealing £1000 between March 13 and March 21 this year; to obtaining £5, £10 and £20 by fraud on April 18; and stealing £15 from a house on the same day.

Fiscal depute John Kirk told the court that Walton was estranged from his family but his father allowed him to sleep in his van from time to time and he had helped him with cleaning in the past.

On this occasion he went to the 82-year old woman’s home and asked for money, but she had no money on her and gave him her bank card and the pin number, which he then used on a number of occasions.

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The prosecutor added that Walton had two minor previous convictions.

Walton’s defence solicitor, Angus McLennan, said the woman had become suspicious and contacted the police, while another customer raised the alarm when the real cleaner turned up looking for his money.

The defence agent said Walton knew that cleaners often returned for payment at a later stage and had come across the 82-year-old victim while helping his father.

He added: “It was an opportunistic theft. The temptation proved too much for him”.

As for going round other houses, Mr McLennan said Walton had been “simply chancing his luck by knocking on doors of homes he knew his father had cleaned windows”.

Mr McLennan said Walton’s father David was very disappointed by his son’s actions, which had caused a great deal of embarrassment and impacted on his business.

The solicitor said his father had refunded the money taken from people on his round, but that he had not known about the £1000 card theft.

Walton’s mother added that her son had been clean of heroin for two months.

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She said: “He’s been on drugs for nearly 20 years, since he was at school. There’s not a lot of people outside the family that know about it.

“Now that he has been proven to be clear of drugs for two months I’m starting to, not to warm towards him, but accept him and learn to trust him a little bit more.

“He’s been in the gutter and this has been his wake-up call.”