A thief was jailed for 27 weeks on Friday after snatching £450 Christmas shopping money from a woman in Watford town centre.
Lushane Reid, 29, was sitting on the ground saw the woman and her husband use a nearby cash point at half at past eight in the morning on Christmas Eve.
St Albans Crown Court heard he pushed the man over and ran off with the cash.
He was followed by members of the public and the police were called.
They went to the Haven Centre in Whippendell Road and recovered £200 from Reid and £30 from a person he had passed money to.
Reid of Stoke Newington Road, London N16 pleaded guilty to theft and assault by beating.
The prosecution accepted his not guilty to pleas to robbery and assault with intent to rob.
Defending, Tom Edwards said he had spent three and a half months in custody since his arrest.
Judge Michael Kay QC said the money recovered will be returned to the victims.
Reid will be released immediately from prison as he has already served more than half the sentence.