A MAN who grabbed £250 out of the hands of a woman who was standing behind him in a bank queue has been jailed for eight months.

Edward Donnelly, of Glasgow, stole the cash in an “opportunistic, compulsive” move at Irvine’s Clydesdale Bank, a court was told.

Donnelly, 40, appeared from custody at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week and pled guilty to one charge.

His plea of not guilty to a second charge was accepted by the prosecutor.

The court heard that at around 12.50pm on June 26 of this year, Donnelly was observed waiting outside the bank on the town’s High Street.

Shortly after, he entered the premises and joined the queue within. Donnelly was standing waiting in line when a woman entered the bank and joined the queue behind him.

The woman removed her money from her purse and started counting it out on her hand.

Donnelly turned around and started to watch the woman count the cash. He then leaned forward and took the money from her hands.

He ran towards the door and was stopped by the witness and other members of the public.

The doors were then locked.

Defending Donnelly, solicitor Katy Dawson said that her client had struggled with a mental health issue and with addiction, but was trying to sort himself out.

She added: “He was in the grip of a heroin addiction when he was standing in the queue and saw the money. He effectively saw the opportunity.”

When Sheriff Alistair Watson pointed out: “There’s very few heroin addicts make their way to the bank to put money in”, Ms Dawson replied that Donnelly was there to get a bank statement.

She added: “The behaviour was opportunistic, compulsive, and clearly he gave the complainer quite a fright.

“He has pled guilty at the earliest opportunity. He tells me he has straightened himself out in terms of addiction since he’s been in custody.

“He’s in custody in relation to another matter. He is not serving a sentence, he has a deferred sentence calling. Reports have been called for.”

Sheriff Watson told Donnelly: “This is a very serious matter, you’re very fortunate to be on a summary complaint.

“Although not libelled as robbery, there’s a very fine line between theft and robbery.

“This offence occurred in a place where people are supposed to feel safe and the court has to take a strong view.”

Donnelly was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, reduced from 12 months, as of September 28.