A MAN who stole the handbag of a woman sleeping on a train was on his way home after appearing in court for another offence, it has emerged.

Martin Sorrenson, 32, was travelling home on the train from Carlisle to Oxenholme when he spotted that Michelle Lowe had left her Jimmy Choo bag on the seat next to her after falling asleep over her tablet computer.

CCTV pictures from the train and the platform showed him picking it up and taking it with him into the gents’ toilets when he got off at Oxenholme station, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The bag was later found in the toilets – empty.

Sorrenson was arrested after a police officer recognised him from the CCTV images.

Prosecuting counsel Laura Nash told the court Sorrenson, of Hallgarth Circle, Kendal, later told police he could not remember taking the bag because he had been so drunk.

At the time he was returning home from Carlisle Crown Court, where he had appeared on a charge of taking a car without consent, she said.

Sorrenson, who had 72 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to theft.

His barrister Alison Whalley said he took the bag as “an impulsive act” but was otherwise making good progress after being given a suspended prison sentence for assault and carrying an offensive weapon.

Passing sentence Judge Barbara Forrester said the theft fell into the “nuisance bracket”.

She ordered him to do 150 hours unpaid community work, with £60 compensation to Ms Lowe.

All other orders imposed by the court on previous occasions will continue.