A mother-of-two was finding it hard to survive financially when she stole clothes worth €71 from a Dublin store, a court was told.
Sarah McCarthy (45) had broken up from her long-term partner when she carried out the theft.
Judge David McHugh gave her a three-month suspended sentence after hearing she had prior theft convictions.
McCarthy, with an address at Raheen Park, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty to stealing clothing from Dunnes Stores, Liffey Valley, last March 9.
Blanchardstown District Court heard the accused was in the shop at 5.30pm when she selected €71 worth of clothing from the shelves.
She passed all points of payment and left the store without paying.
McCarthy was stopped by security staff after leaving the premises and the stolen property was recovered in a saleable con- dition and returned to the store.
Gardai were called and she was co-operative when arrested and charged, Sgt Maria Call-aghan told the court.
McCarthy had two previous convictions for theft, Sgt Callaghan added.
McCarthy's relationship with her long-term partner broke down in 2015, her solicitor said.
They had both been on social welfare.
There was an issue in relation to her social welfare payments and she was now trying to fix this.
The accused has two children and was finding it very difficult to survive, her solicitor said.
To add to her troubles, she was suffering from bipolar disorder.
She asked the judge to be as lenient as he could in the circumstances.
Judge McHugh suspended the sentence for 18 months.
He told the accused's solicitor that he was imposing a suspended sentence because of McCarthy's previous theft convictions.
He set recognisances in the event of an appeal.
Legal aid was also granted to the defendant, with no garda objection.
McCarthy did not address the court during the brief hearing.