Police reunite woman with purse stolen in Telford

A good-willed member of the public and kind hearted member of police staff have helped reunite a woman with her stolen purse.

Police officers Tanya Lewis and Rich Bailey have returned the purse to Cathleen. Photo: West Mercia Police
Police officers Tanya Lewis and Rich Bailey have returned the purse to Cathleen. Photo: West Mercia Police

On New Year’s Eve 74-year-old Cathleen Burke travelled from Stafford to Telford Town Centre to do some shopping in the sales. Unfortunately, during her visit her purse was stolen. Devastated by the theft, she reported the incident to police.

The next day, on New Year’s Day, a member of the public was walking his dog in woods in Dawley when he found a purse lying on the ground. He handed the purse in at Malinsgate Police Station to enquiry officer, Tanya Lewis.

Tanya checked the police computer system to see if it was linked to a crime and was able to identify the purse as Cathleen’s. Sadly though, money that was in the purse was missing.

She contacted Ms Burke to let her know her purse had been found, but after hearing the distress the incident had caused her wanted to see what she could do to help more. Tanya decided to make a request to the West Mercia Community Fund to see if funds could be provided to recoup Cathleen with some of the money that had been stolen.

Luckily the request was approved and on Wednesday Tanya was able to meet Cathleen, and hand over the money, in person. Cathleen was delighted with how Tanya had helped her.

She said: “I can’t thank Tanya enough for everything that she has done for me, I’m very grateful to her. I’d also like to thank the man who handed my purse in and would love to meet him so I can thank him in person. The purse has a lot of sentimental value to me as it was a present from my daughter and I’m so pleased to have it back.”

Tanya said: “I was devastated to hear the distress the incident had caused Cathleen and wanted to be able to help. She had made a special visit to Telford to do some shopping in the sales and it was such a shame her money had been taken so I’m pleased the request from the community fund was approved.”

Superintendent Tom Harding is the local policing commander for Telford and has praised both Tanya and the man who handed in the purse.

He said: “Tanya has gone over and above to reassure a victim of crime and I’m incredibly proud of the steps she has taken, this is a perfect example of the work my officers and staff do across Telford on a daily basis to put victims first. I’d also like to thank the member of the public who handed the purse in as it’s this that has enabled us to return the stolen property.”

Anyone with information about the theft should contact West Mercia Police on 101 quoting reference 22-116480-18 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.