A HAWICK woman found a purse on a bench outside a supermarket but kept it instead of giving it back to the owner, Jedburgh Sheriff Court has been told.

Claire Condie, 30, of Allars Bank, pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing the purse by finding it on August 23 and making no attempt to find its rightful owner.

The court was told the purse contained £40 in cash and cards which were not recovered.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said the offence happened at around 11.15am outside Sainsbury's in Hawick.

He explained: "A lady who had been shopping had left her purse lying on the bench.

"The accused saw the purse and picked it up. By the time the lady realised her purse was missing and returned to where she had been sitting it was gone.

"But it was all captured on CCTV and the accused was recognised.

"She did not appear particularly upset at being caught."

Mr Fraser said the total value of the loss through cash and cards was £73.

Defence lawyer Ed Hulme said his client had experienced a long term battle against heroin addiction.

He added: "It was pure opportunism. The purse was left unsupervised on the bench and temptation got the better of her.

"She noticed someone had come looking for the purse and she felt it was more difficult to come clean so decided to put the purse and contents in a nearby bin.

"She was not surprised when the police came round two weeks later but to be clear she is mortified about it."

Sheriff Valerie Johnston imposed a fine of £150 on Condie, who receives £291 per fortnight on Universal Credit.

She also imposed a £75 compensation order in favour of the purse owner.