Allah Ditta, 49, had no money in his bank account but realised something was up when a £68 transaction was approved.
A penniless fraudster and his friends went on a £60,000 shopping spree at Tesco stores after he noticed a software glitch involving his bank card.
Homeless man Allah Ditta, 49, didn’t have any money in his bank account, but realised something was up when a £68 transaction at one of the Tesco stores wasn’t rejected.
A software error meant transactions were approved when they should have been declined, a court heard.
But instead of reporting the glitch, the divorced drug addict and his pals used the card 167 times at Tesco stores across northern England, “milking it for all it was worth” while racking up £56,683 in purchases in just a few weeks reports ‘The Telegraph and Argus.
Ditta, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, has now been jailed for two years and three months.
Prosecutor Sophie Drake told Bradford Crown Court a software error meant transactions were approved when they should have been declined.
She added: “The person on the checkout wasn’t aware of the fault and the transactions were approved.”
Dad-of-two Ditta realised something was wrong and dashed to another store in Bradford to try the same trick again.
The court heard he also loaned the card to pals and together they bought electric items, phones, computers, gift cards and obtained cash back in store.
The card was used 167 times at 14 Tesco shops in Bradford, Leeds, Garforth, Oldham and Manchester.
Mrs Drake said Ditta carried on spending from January 21 last year until he was arrested at a Tesco store in Bradford on February 15.
The shameless rogue told cops he was not aware he had done anything wrong, adding: “Who wouldn’t? Who is honest these days?”
Geraldine Kelly, mitigating, said her client was going through a tough period in his life and was homeless.
She added: “This period of offending represents a very sorry time in his life.
“He has been a drug addict for 30 years, but despite that had been married for 40 years.
“As it was, that drug addiction led to the breakdown of his marriage.
“He was unable to see his wife and daughter and was homeless.”
Ditta has a long list of previous convictions, including three in the last year for shoplifting, burglary and theft.
He admitted fraud and was jailed for two years and three months by Judge Robert Bartfield.
The judge said: “Through a malfunction in the software you discovered that a transaction of £68 which you were attempting to complete on your debit card in Bradford indicated to you, that for some reason, the appropriate checking facility was not working.
“That is to say you had no funds in your account and ordinarily your transaction would have been declined because you didn’t have the grounds to pay.
“You were not slow to see the opportunity this offered because it dawned on you that if it was going to malfunction on this occasion, it was going to malfunction again and you milked it for all it was worth.
“Either yourself or people who were acting with you visited Tesco stores across the North of England.
“Altogether there was some 14 different branches or towns approached and 167 transactions.”
It was not clear if the software fault was at Tesco stores or with the bank.