Woman arrested after returning handbag she stole from coffee shop

Lynn magistrates file pic

The case was heard at King's Lynn magistrates court - Credit: Chris Bishop

A North Lynn woman stole cash and bank cards from a handbag accidentally left outside a coffee shop, a court heard.

But Cleo Hannabus, 22, later handed the bag into police.

She left the enquiry office without leaving her details but was later arrested after a worker recognised her.

At Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Hannabus pleaded guilty to theft on August 28.

Collette Harper, prosecuting, said the victim had left her handbag on an outside table at Costa.

CCTV images showed Hannabus rifling through the handbag.

“She was not seen with anyone at that stage,” added Mrs Harper, who said Hannabus was later spotted handing a bank card to a man who has since been charged with fraud.

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The court was told that Hannabus then took the handbag to the police public enquiry office.

Mrs Harper said: “She doesn’t stay long enough to give any details and walks out straightaway. The public enquiry officer recognises her and goes through the handbag.”

The victim was contacted to say it had been handed in. By then she had already realised a bank card had been used to gain £41 at a shop in Loke Road, North Lynn.

The court was told that the value of cash taken from the handbag and the cost of replacing a driving licence and other missing items was £128.

Charlotte Winchester, mitigating, said it was disappointing that her client was back in court because Hannabus, who had a history of drug abuse, had been making good progress since her last conviction in late 2020.

“There was no planning in this matter,” Miss Winchester added.

“She went to Costa, the bag was there and she made the stupid decision to pick it up, look in it and take the money.

“She very much regrets that. It was a huge step backwards for her.”

Hannabus, of Duggie Carter Court, King's Lynn, was fined £120 and ordered to pay £128 compensation.

Meanwhile, an arrest warrant was issued for 26-year-old Dean Gray, of High Road, Tilney cum Islington.

He failed to attend court on charges of fraud by false representation on August 28 and obstructing a police officer on September 7.

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