Metro thief dumped £3,000 handbag which he found on train

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A THIEF picked up a £3,000 designer handbag which had been accidentally left on a Metro train – and then dumped it without even looking inside.

But it could prove an expensive act for David Donkin, 38, as prosecutors have applied for compensation for the bag and its contents – valued at a total of £3,385.

It was an opportunity that, unfortunately, he didn’t pass up. He took the bag, then left it on South Hylton Bank.

Angus Westgarth, defending

Student Yan Xi Cheng had accidentally left her bag behind when she disembarked the train at Park Lane station at 10.50pm on February 2, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Prosecutor Sarah Guest said Miss Cheng immediately contacted Metro control, who advised her to wait on the opposite platform for the train to come back from South Hylton.

But when the train came back to Park Lane, the bag was gone and Miss Cheng immediately reported the incident to police, who viewed CCTV footage from the carriage.

“It was clear from the footage that, as a result of the lady getting off the Metro, the handbag is left unattended on the seat,” Mrs Guest said.

“The next station is University. A male and female gets on the train and Mr Donkin sits down next to the bag. He then removes the bag from the seat and puts it inside a plastic carrier bag and gets off the train at South Hylton and is seen carrying the plastic bag.”

Donkin was arrested, telling police: “I don’t have the bag, I dumped it on South Hylton Bank.”

Mrs Guest added that the black Chanel bag also contained a £300 Prada purse, £60 in cash and various personal items, making the total value of the theft £3,385.

“He told police he doesn’t know why he took it and he hadn’t looked inside the bag either,” Mrs Guest said. “He decided to walk up South Hylton Bank. He left it on a wall and went home.

“He said he was being stupid, he didn’t know what he was going to do with it .”

Mrs Guest said she would make an application for compensation for the full amount to be awarded to Miss Cheng, as well as prosecution costs.

“She said the theft has left her feeling very sad and upset to the point where she cried for hours and couldn’t sleep properly,” Mrs Guest added.

Full-time gardener Donkin, of Mount Close, South Hylton, admitted theft.

Angus Westgarth, defending, said: “This is theft by finding. It was an opportunity that, unfortunately, he didn’t pass up. He took the bag, then left it on South Hylton Bank.

“I am sure it was someone rich who purchased the bag for her, it was no doubt a treasured possession. He had no idea of the value and he didn’t gain anything from it.”

The bench asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service and Donkin will be sentenced at a later date.