A KANIVA couple have been sentenced to community work after they stole a purse belonging to a 12-year-old girl.
Sharon Leanne Cockroft and Peter Walter Sanderson appeared in Horsham Magistrates' Court on Monday, where they pleaded guilty to theft.
The court heard that the pair were at the Kaniva Community Roadhouse on February 10 at 1.35pm when they found a purse in the store's dining area.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Michelle Wentworth said a 12-year-old girl left the purse at the roadhouse.
It contained $135, which she received for her birthday.
Senior Constable Wentworth said Cockroft picked up the purse and opened it before showing it to Sanderson.
"Sanderson then covered the purse with a takeaway food bag," she said.
The pair then left the roadhouse with the purse, without handing it in.
Police identified Cockroft and Sanderson from CCTV footage, which captured the incident.
The pair were arrested and both told police they thought the purse was junk and that it was empty.
Defence lawyer Nick Graham said it was an opportunistic crime.
He said the Kaniva community had ostracised the pair because of this incident.
Magistrate Therese McCarthy said the pair acted dishonestly and it was unacceptable behaviour.
"Children view savings of that nature as very precious - it has a higher value than we, as adults, would consider," she said.
"This significant loss has had an impact on the victim.
"I do place weight on that fact that they have already been punished by their community."
Ms McCarthy sentenced Cockroft and Sanderson to 35 hours of community work, which they are required to complete within six months.
They were also required to pay back $67.50 each.
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