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Colchester: Handbag stolen from inside church

09:57 01 March 2014

A thief has stolen a handbag from inside a church in Colchester.

The incident took place at Greenstead Evangelical Free Church, in Magnolia Drive.

A woman in her 70s was working inside the church when a suspect sneaked into the building and took her handbag, about 10.55am, on Friday, February 21,

Two schoolgirls found the handbag in a bin at Hunwicke Road the following Sunday and returned it to the owner and the contents, except an £80 Lumix digital camera, were recovered.

Investigating officer, Pc Wendy Crowson, said: “This was a despicable opportunist crime by a man who went into the church and took a bag which had been left unattended for less than five minutes while the woman was busy elsewhere.

“A man was seen running away from the church and we want to hear from anyone who might have seen him. We also want to hear from anyone who might have seen the handbag being dumped in the bin at Hunwicke Road.

“The woman was very grateful to the schoolgirls who found the bag and kindly returned it to her because it contained a purse, bank cards, personal items and other valuables.”

Anyone who saw the man hanging around the church or running away towards Hunwicke Road should contact Pc Crowson at Colchester Neighbourhood Crime Team on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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