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Herne Bay woman's purse returned after it was stolen in branch of Iceland

By Jack Dyson

An elderly woman whose purse was stolen in Iceland has had it returned in bizarre circumstances more than a month later.

Joan, 88 – whose surname we have agreed to withhold – was in Herne Bay’s Iceland store when she was targeted by thieves on December 2.

Staff at the supermarket gave chase and caught one of the suspects, telling of the robbery on Facebook’s Herne Bay Chatter page.

The money raised was handed to Joan’s daughter, Linda Hackwith, by local children's author Faye Beerling

The post prompted a fundraising appeal which collected £140 for Joan, which she has since donated to charity.

But she has also received her purse back after it was found in a handbag bought by a woman in New Look as a Christmas present for her daughter.

“It sounds like the woman who stole it went across to New Look and hid my purse in a brand new handbag,” Joan said.

“A lady bought it for her daughter for Christmas and then rang me up last week to return the purse. She brought it back to me the next day.”

The purse, which originally had about £30 in it, was unfortunately empty.

Telling of the robbery this week, Joan said: “It was at the bottom of a deep shopping bag.

“The culprits worked in pairs. One held a large pizza packet in front of my bag while the other woman delved in.

The Iceland store in Mortimer Street, Herne Bay

“It was all recorded on the store’s security cameras.”

The money raised was handed to Joan’s daughter, Linda Hackwith, a week before Christmas but the pensioner says she did not feel comfortable keeping it.

“I’m not a rich woman but felt I should give it to charity,” she said.

Joan, who lives in Beltinge, donated the money to homelessness charity Crisis, three animal charities and to an appeal to give blankets to orphans in the Middle East.

“I also took boxes of chocolate biscuits into Age UK each day of the week before Christmas because I go there regularly,” she said.

“I go up there to have lunch and a chat, play scrabble, cards or do whatever activity there is on the day. I think I’ve only got £3 left.”

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