WOMEN'S handbags should be fitted with alarms to ward off thieves, a judge has said.
Judge Anthony Halpin said an "ear-piercing noise" would frighten criminals into dropping stolen bags.
He was commenting in the case of a man who snatched a woman's handbag while pretending to help her pay for parking.
James Moorehouse (30) was given a three-month suspended sentence at Dublin District Court.
Moorehouse, of Ballywaltrim Heights, Bray, pleaded guilty to theft at Florence Road car park, Bray, last February 13.
The court heard the victim was paying for parking when the accused approached and asked if she needed any help.
While speaking to her, he grabbed her handbag and ran away. She chased him for a time but lost sight of him.
Later that day, he was seen at Lower O'Connell Street trying to sell a mobile phone.
He told gardai he had found it but later admitted stealing it from the woman.The phone, €20 in cash and the handbag were returned to the owner.
Moorehouse had been going through drug withdrawals and was desperate when he stole the bag, his lawyer said.