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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Thief snatched student's handbag during graduation celebration

A thief who ruined a student’s graduation day by stealing her handbag has been jailed for 20 weeks.

Paul Keith Little, 34, took the woman’s handbag on July 18 as she celebrated getting her degree at the Walkabout bar in Botchergate, Carlisle.

She had left it on a table – but the moment it was snatched by Little, of Hillary Grove, Harraby, was captured on the pub’s CCTV cameras.

At the city’s magistrates court, Little pleaded guilty to theft and possessing cocaine, a class A drug.

Prosecutor Diane Jackson told the court how the pub’s cameras recorded Little entering the premises, walking directly to the table where the handbag was, and then walking out after collecting it.

When police tracked down the defendant, he was hiding under a duvet in his bedroom, said Miss Jackson. Police also recovered a large amount of money and found the cocaine.

The officers later found the victim’s handbag discarded in the city’s William Street car park. The value of the contents and the bag were put at £712, said the prosecutor.

Defence solicitor Laura Harper said: “Mr Little is keen to apologise to the student for ruining her day.”

At the time of the offence, she said, he was serving a suspended jail term but he had personal problems in his life and worked on a market stall with his elderly parents, who are in poor health.

He was getting counselling for alcohol problems but turned to drink by default when under stress, she said.

Magistrates imposed 10 weeks’ jail for the theft, and 10 weeks consecutive for his breach of the suspended sentence he was serving.

On his release from jail he must also pay his victim £110 compensation, the amount representing the cash not recovered after the theft.

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