12:01 Thursday 02 January 2014

Wilko purse thief targets shoppers


A UTTOXETER woman who was victim to theft while shopping in a town centre store has warned others to be aware of their possessions.

Marguerite Wallace, 66, from Stanley Crescent had her purse stolen from her handbag by a pickpocket while shopping in Wilkinson’s in High Street.

The pickpocket distracted Mrs Wallace by employing the tactic of bumping into her by way of distraction to take her purse.

The purse contained money and personal photos.

She is appealing for everyone to keep an eye on their possessions and to anyone who may have witnessed the crime to get in touch with police.

She said: “I wish whoever stole my purse would return it to me.

“It is so heartbreaking especially at this time of year.

“It didn’t contain much money but it did contain my credit and debit cards and my driving licence, snatched from my bag in an instant.

“It also contained photos of my beautiful grandchildren.

“I blame myself, I should have been more careful, you really dont think thefts could be so rife in Uttoxeter but unfortunately they are.

“Others need to be aware that there are some nasty people out there.”

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “We received a report of a theft of a purse from a female shopper in Wilkinsons at 1.15pm on December 21.

“The female offender distracted the lady shopper by bumping into her.

“The purse contained bank cards and a small amount of cash.

“The offender was white and estimated to be in her thirties.

“She was wearing a knitted black 1960s style cap, a black knitted poncho, a grey top, skinny jeans and brown shoes.”

Anyone with any information should contact Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 492 of December 21 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The theft comes soon after high street stores called for additional CCTV cameras to be installed to protect the back entrances of their premises from ‘cowardly’ thieves.

Thugs smashed in the back doors of High Street stores YMCA, Scope and British Heart Foundation (BHF) overnight earlier this year.

The town’s police and crime commissioner has said funds may be allocated towards the CCTV network after shop owners at British Heart Foundation (BHF), Scope, YMCA, and Birds Expresso expressed dismay when it emerged 11 cameras in town could be scrapped.

The blow came just months after the shop owners called for more security in High Street when they were ransacked by thieves.

However, Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has revealed he will hold talks with East Staffordshire Borough Council, which operates Uttoxeter’s cameras, to discuss how to maintain – or even improve – the network.

He said: “The council’s review that may result in cameras being axed would certainly concern me. I’d like to speak to them and see if there’s any way we can change our collective approach to protect the cameras under threat.”

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