A woman who tried to rob a vulnerable pensioner she followed from Luton town centre has been given the chance to get off drugs.

She met the 79-year-old man in Market Square and offered to help carry his bags.

The man, who walks with a stick, refused her offer and became concerned as she continued with him to Whipperley Ring, Luton Crown Court heard Thursday 28th January.

He went into the communal area of flats, where a friend lived. The 30-year-old woman also went in and said: “Give me a fiver.”

Prosecutor Kevin West said: “She went through his pockets and pulled out a bus pass, which she gave back to him. She asked for money, but he did not have any.”

When the victim shouted out and knocked on a resident’s door, she ran off. The victim was shaken, but not harmed. The resident called the police and the woman was arrested later.

She pleaded guilty to committing attempted robbery on 12 September 2015. She had 10 convictions for 24 offences. None were for robbery but she had been convicted of common assault, assault on a constable and causing actual bodily harm.

Alex Britton, defending, said: “She offered to help him in good faith, hoping he would give her some money. In the block of flats she went through his pockets. He shouted and she fled. No violence was used. It was unplanned and unsophisticated. She accepts he was vulnerable.”

He said it was the lowest category of robbery.

Mr Britton asked the judge to pass a Drug Rehabiliation Requirement, saying that his client was now living in accommodation that was supported by a charity. He said she was making progress and was attending cocaine anonymous meetings.

Judge Stuart Bridge agreed, saying: “It is possible she can break the cycle of drug-induced offending.”

He passed a 3 year Community Order with a 9 month Drug Rehabilitation Requirement. She must attend 20 days of the course and have monthly reviews at the court. She must abide by a 6 week curfew between 9pm and 7am.