A grieving Downham woman is warning shoppers after she was left devastated by the theft of her handbag while travelling home from two family funerals.
Carole Redpath had just suffered two tragedies in the family within just six days, when her bag was snatched from a trolley as she made her way around Sainsbury’s Hardwick store with her husband.
She said: “I feel totally violated and I no longer feel safe in supermarkets. Going into Tesco just days ago I felt physically sick and had to leave.”
Mrs Redpath was on her way home to Downham from the funerals of two of her brothers-in-law, on the Isle of Man and in Cumbria, on October 1 at around 1pm when her brown leather handbag was taken. The bag contained house, garage and car keys, around £100 in cash, bank cards, glasses, a mobile phone and precious pictures of Mrs Redpath’s late child.
She said: “I had my life in that bag, everything was in it. I cannot put into words the distress, anguish, trauma and stress the thief has caused.
“The cost of putting our lives back together is now running into hundreds of pounds, but what cannot be replaced are the cherished family photographs of a child now lost to us.”
The incident was immediately reported to staff at Sainsbury’s and police, who retrieved CCTV images of two individuals they would like to speak to about the incident.
Mrs Redpath and her husband, Richard, were left locked out of their home with no money. She said: “The first locksmith we called wanted £250 cash upfront, and when we explained the situation he told us to sleep in the car.
“Thankfully we thought to call Maplin who went out of their way to help us. The generosity and kindness of local people has been outstanding.
“Local companies like Fenland Garage Doors, Magpie Security, Thurlow Nunn and Specsavers, and of course Sainsbury’s, have been absolutely incredible and have bent over backwards to help us.”
She added: “My neighbours have helped so much and I really don’t know what we would have done, or how we would have coped, without them all.”
Mrs Redpath was left disappointed in Norfolk County Council, who she says charged her £10 for a replacement of her free bus pass. She said: “They made it so difficult and complicated, they were shocking compared to everyone else.”
The incident has left Mrs Redpath shaken, as she tried to come to terms with both her grief, and the theft. But warning others remains her priority.
She said: “I’m usually quite astute and keep an eye on my bag, but I was distracted and staff and Sainsbury’s said it looked like we’d been targeted as we walked in the shop. I didn’t seen anything and didn’t realise my bag was missing until I reached the till.
“I want to save to everyone to please watch your bags and keep an eye out for strange people hanging around. Be very watchful and suspicious, because having your bag taken is horrible. It’s more than a body can take after everything else we’ve been through.”
Anyone with information about the incident, or who, should contact PC Maria Asker at Downham Police Station on 101 (calls 25p).