Partygoer stole purse containing over £300 - COURT REPORT

A MAN who went to a New Year’s Eve party to meet new people stole a purse containing more than £300.

Gareth Ian Flannigan, 26, pleaded guilty to theft at Bridlington Magistrates Court last week.

Flannigan, who moved to Bridlington at the end of last year, attended a New Year’s Eve party at an address on Burstall Hill with his cousin and her boyfriend.

“He had just moved to the area from Leeds and thought it would be a good way to meet new people,” prosecutor Heather Levett said.

Another guest at the party, Samantha Burrow, had left her handbag in the dining room with her purse in containing £310 in cash. At 11pm Miss Burrow went back to her bag to get a drink out of it and the purse was still there. She covered her bag with a bottle bag and went back to the party.

At 12.15am she went back into the dining room to find the bottle bag had been moved and her purse was gone.

When she told the party organisers what had happened, everyone in attendance was searched.

“A witness saw the money in the defendant’s boxers when he removed his shoes and jeans,” Mrs Levett said.

Three hundred pounds was recovered.

Mrs Levett added: “Miss Burrow is a single parent who works hard to get money. When it went missing she was worried about how she was going to make it up, she thought she was with people she could trust.”

Defence solicitor Caroline Wyatt said Flannigan had moved to Bridlington to get away from the drugs culture in Leeds.

“He felt alienated at the party and at midnight he was in one room and everyone else was in another,” Miss Wyatt said.

“He took the money and accepts he should not have done it. He knows it was wrong and wishes to apologise for the incident,” she added.

Miss Wyatt told magistrates that although Flannigan, a qualified plasterer, had been addicted to heroin and crack, he had been through a detox programme and had a job lined up.

Flannigan, who now lives at Shakespeare Court, Burmantofts, Leeds, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a supervision requirement and must pay £30 compensation and £85 costs.