Bipolar thief stole fellow shopper’s purse from Sunderland Argos

Sunderland Magistrates Court.
Sunderland Magistrates Court.
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A WOMAN stole a purse with almost £200 in it from a high street store after a shopper left it there.

Vickie Lorraine Gillespie, 31, saw the purse on a counter in Argos, in High Street West, after a shopper mistakenly left it on the counter on December 17.

Prosecutor Paul Doney told a hearing at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court: “The victim realised she did not have her purse and went back to the area she left it to look it up. But her purse was gone. It contained £170, photographs and bank cards.”

Mr Doney added that CCTV footage from the shop showed Gillespie walking over to the purse after spotting it and placing it in her bag.

Gillespie, of Azalea Terrace North, Sunderland, had left her details at Argos after she and her partner applied for a store card there that day.

When police visited her at her home address, they found the purse in a bin in the back yard, but it was empty.

A victim statement read out in court heard that the woman whose purse was taken “felt sick” following the theft.

Gillespie pleaded guilty to theft by finding.

Ruth Foster, defending, said Gillespie is bipolar and had had problems with drug addiction in recent years, which she has now managed to beat.

“She had been in the store to apply for a store card and noticed that the purse was there.

“She believes that she was going to hand it into the police.

“She had the opportunity to hand it in and failed to do so.

“She fully accepts the offence.”

District judge Roger Elsey told Gillespie: “I can’t decide what the punishment for this offence will be. This is a serious offence because of your previous offences and the impact it had on the victim.”

Gillespie will be sentenced next month.