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Pickpocket warning as money stolen from 11-year-old boy

Fed up: Michael Dunning and his parents
Fed up: Michael Dunning and his parents

A family is appealing to the consciences of thieves they believe stole £200 from their 11-year-old son.

A wallet containing the money, which Michael Dunning had saved for almost three years, is believed to have been taken by pickpockets in Ashford High Street.

Police say this was one of three cases of missing wallets or purses in the area on the same day.

Now Michael’s father, Jeff, said: “Michael’s innocent outlook on life has gone and he has become very cynical towards other people.

“It is so sad seeing him awaken to a side of some people’s nature that he never knew about before.”

Michael’s wallet vanished as he walked through Ashford town centre with his mother Narjleen, 42 at about 4pm on Tuesday, February 17.

The cash, which was savings of Christmas, birthday and pocket money, disappeared as they went between County Square and McDonald’s in the High Street.

It was in a wallet in Mrs Dunning’s handbag when three or four youths had barged into her. When the family arrived at McDonald’s the wallet was missing.

The family, at first thinking it was lost, retraced their steps to see if they could find it and then reported the incident to police.

Michael, a pupil at Ashford’s Norton Knatchbull School, had been on the way to deposit the money in the bank.

South Kent Police are also examining reports of two lost purses in Ashford High Street that day.

One was reported missing outside the Mecca Bingo Hall and the other between Marks and Spencer and Argos.

Police spokesman Rosy Alexander said: “We advise women to always keep their handbags secure. They should be zipped up and slung to the body rather than the shoulder.

“If someone pushes or jostles you, hold the bag close to you.”

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