Rushden Wilko theft victim scared to go out on her own

CCTV footage released by the police shows the thieves in action
CCTV footage released by the police shows the thieves in action

A 73-year-old woman says she is scared to go out on her own after brazen thieves stole a purse hanging from a bag on the back of her wheelchair.

Janet Dalton was out shopping in the Wilko store in Rushden when a woman took the purse from behind her before passing it on to a man stood nearby.

The theft has left Mrs Dalton, who uses a wheelchair after suffering a stroke four years ago, afraid to go out on her own.

Speaking to the Telegraph this week, Mrs Dalton, who lives in Rushden, said: “They were behind me, I couldn’t see anything.

“They were ever so quick and I didn’t notice a thing.

“And I don’t think I was the first person they had done this to. It was like something out of Dickens.

“I only noticed when I went to pay. They were so professional that I didn’t feel anything.”

Luckily, Mrs Dalton was with a friend at the time who kindly paid for her shopping, but she says the incident has stripped her of her independence.

She said: “Everything was in my purse, all my bank cards and everything had to be cancelled. I had just drawn out £100 so I think they might have seen me doing that.

“It’s awful. Now I am scared of going out on my own.

“I used to do it on my own, but now I have lost my independence.”

CCTV footage of the theft, which took place between 1.45pm and 2.15pm on Wednesday, January 7, at the Eaton Walk store, has been viewed by more than 50,000 people on Northamptonshire Police’s website.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said no arrests had been made, but added: “We have had lots of people call in about it, and we have had a number of names put forward.

“But we would still encourage anyone who recognises these people to come forward.”

Mrs Dalton’s plight has also seen a collection launched to replace the stolen money.

Tracey Willis helped set up the appeal and said: “I saw it on Facebook last week and I was absolutely gutted by it, I was disgusted.

“If anyone wants to donate, they need to go into the Wilko store in Rushden and they need to go to a member of staff or customer services and say they want to donate to the appeal for the lady who was robbed there

“Debbie from the fish and chip shop in Higham Ferrers contacted me by Facebook and said she would be more than willing to be a collection point for Higham Ferrers too.”

The fish and chip shop is also donating the proceeds after customers could have an item of their choice deep fried for 50p last Saturday.