The father-of-three (inset, below) was caught stealing from one shop and admitted to theft from another. He was ordered to complete 100 hours community service in lieu of three months in prison.
It was a role Mr Purcell never expected to play but he told the Herald how he felt he had no option but to steal €58 worth of groceries.
"We had moved home, and a letter had been sent to our old address looking to confirm our children's allowance details," the actor said.
"But we never got the letter, so the children's allowance was stopped. We literally ran out of money, and then ran out of food, and I did not know what I was going to do."
He continued: "I knew my kids would be getting up, and they would be hungry. They are aged nine, 11 and 16. I just knew I couldn't go home with nothing."
As a result, on August 6 last he went to the SuperValu in Firhouse where he paid for some milk but also put other items like cheese, biscuits and breadrolls in the bag.