Thief stole from bus passenger

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A THIEF took a bus passenger’s purse after sneaking it out of her handbag.

Mark Butler, 27, took the purse, which contained £7, a bank card, bus pass and passport, when he got on the number 56 bus after visiting his girlfriend in Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

He pleaded guilty to theft at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court and will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on February 3.

Paul Doney, prosecuting, said the woman victim became suspicious when she sat opposite Butler.

He said: “As the bus was pulling into Sunderland city centre, she noticed the male had moved to the side of the seat closer to the aisle and was reaching into her handbag. When he got off the bus she noticed her purse was not there.”

Butler, from Victoria Terrace, Penshaw, was identified from CCTV footage, but claimed he was so drunk that he could not remember what he had done with it.