A woman returned home after drinking with a friend and realised she had left her handbag, containing cash and jewellery, behind, a court has heard.

Blackburn Magistrates' Court heard how the woman retraced her steps and with the help of CCTV was able to identify the thief who took her bag on December 30.

Christopher David Rowley, 44, of Hambledon Mill Park, Accrington, pleaded guilty to theft of a handbag and contents together worth £1,176 belonging to Gillian Percy.

He was ordered to pay the full amount in compensation by magistrates following his hearing on June 9.

Briony Cook, prosecuting, said Mrs Percy had been in the beer garden at the Commercial Hotel in Church Street, Accrington, with a friend and her grandson on the day between Christmas and New Year.

They had another drink in the Broadway in Burnley Road before Mrs Percy went home.

As soon as she realised she had mislaid her bag she went back to the Broadway, where CCTV showed her entering the pub without her bag.

“She then went back to the Commercial where the camera had captured the defendant leaving the pub with her bag,” said Miss Cook.

Gareth Price, in mitigation, said Rowley became aware via Facebook that the police were looking for him and immediately contacted them.

He said there was nothing of a dishonest nature on his client’s record.

“It appears to have been a spur of the moment decision after the owner left the bag behind,” said Mr Price.

He confirmed that neither the bag or any of the contents had been recovered.