Thieves behind bars after pension theft

TWO thieves who stole a woman's pension while she shopped are behind bars today, waiting to be sentenced.Magistrates in Ipswich were told two Bulgarian woman – one of whom has been in Britain for just a month – had travelled to Felixstowe from Haringey in London and once there had targeted an elderly woman.

TWO thieves who stole a woman's pension while she shopped are behind bars today, waiting to be sentenced.

Magistrates in Ipswich were told two Bulgarian woman – one of whom has been in Britain for just a month – had travelled to Felixstowe from Haringey in London and once there had targeted an elderly woman.

Prosecuting, Godfried Duah said the 73-year-old victim had been trying on shoes in the Russell Smith shop in Hamilton Road while Deschka Ivanova, 26, and Irina Yankova, 18, were there last Thursday morning.

Mr Duah said the woman had collected her pension that day and had around £70 in her purse, along with photographs and other sentimental items.

Yankova had gone to sit close to the woman while she tried on the shoes and had taken the purse from her bag, Mr Duah said.

"Luckily for the victim, and she may not feel very lucky, but a police officer was there and saw what was going on," he said.

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The court then heard how Yankova went back to join Ivanova, who is said to have been acting as a look out, and the pair left the shop.

The police officer followed and arrested them and it was discovered £45 in notes and an unknown sum in coins had been taken from the purse, which was found abandoned near some bushes.

"The defendants had travelled a long way to go and commit this offence and you have to ask whether the offences was intended and the crown would say they saw the lady was in the shop and they took advantage of her age," Mr Duah said.

Both women needed an interpreter throughout the proceedings and both admitted the offence.

In mitigation, Helen Booth told magistrates they had travelled by train to Felixstowe to buy clothes and shoes because they were cheaper there than in London.

Miss Booth said Yankova had taken the purse on an impulse and that Ivanova had not known about it until later.

She said Ivanova had arrived in London a month ago and was hoping to learn English and then begin work. Yankova, she said, had been in the country for some time and was currently waiting for the result of an application to extend her visa.

Magistrates asked for a report to be prepared on Yankova before sentencing.

An application for bail was refused and the pair were remanded in custody until sentencing on Monday.

Have you been the victim of thieves while shopping? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk