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Thief who took purse was a shop regular

A REGULAR customer at a convenience store stole another shopper's purse when she put it down on the counter, a court heard.

Marius Howe (50) "battled with himself" before taking the purse in a crime of "opportunity".

Dublin District Court was told Howe was well-known in the shop.

Judge Michael Walsh fined him €200 after he paid compensation.

Howe, a father of two of Dowling Road, Walkinstown, pleaded guilty to theft of a purse with a bank card and €80 in cash at Londis, St Stephen's Green, on April 13, 2012.

The court heard the victim was shopping with her two young children when she left her purse down on the counter.

Howe, who had previous convictions, stole it. He was identified on CCTV.

Howe was well-known in the shop and had been there on a regular basis, his lawyer said.

"You can see on the CCTV, he is battling with himself," his lawyer added.

Howe had worked in the past but had fallen on "very difficult financial circumstances".

He had brought €100 to court to compensate the victim.

Judge Walsh ordered this money be paid over to the woman and fined the defendant.