Great gran shocked by distraction theft in Leighton Buzzard

Beds Police
Beds Police

An 85-year-old woman was left gobsmacked after callous thieves stole her purse while distracting her in a Leighton Buzzard shop.

Great gran Stella Lake was out shopping in the town centre on Tuesday’s market day, when she was hastled by a man and woman in Iceland.

Mrs Lake said: “The man was following me in and around the shop.

“He annoyed me because he kept pulling on my coat arm, saying ‘excuse me’. He lifted the lid of the freezer and asked me what the writing was on packet of burgers.

“I kept saying, ‘I can’t see it and I can’t understand you’.”

Mrs Lake said the man spoke with a foreign accent.

She added: “Then he got the girl to come over. She asked me if it was vegetarian!”

It was while she was distracted talking to the woman that Mrs Lake believes her purse was stolen by the man.

She said: “When I get home I always sit down to tick my scratchcard, I went to reach for my purse and it was gone.

“I couldn’t believe it. My heart started banging because I’m 85 ... I was very angry to think I’d been caught like that.

“I didn’t miss it in Iceland because I had the right change.”

Mrs Lake’s daughter contacted Bedfordshire Police who are now issuing an appeal to trace the pair.

The purse contained Mrs Lake’s pension, which she had just collected that day.

She said: “They didn’t get any keys or cards and I don’t have a mobile phone. But I’d just gotten my pension and scratchcard.”

A police spokesman added: “Bedfordshire Police is investigating a suspected distraction theft which took place on Tuesday, March 29 in Leighton Buzzard.

“At around 2.30pm, an elderly woman was approached by a man and woman who began speaking to her as she shopped.

“The woman later noticed her purse was missing from her handbag.

“Both people were described as white with European accents, and were both wearing smart clothing.

“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with any information, or who recognises those described, is asked to contact police on 101 quoting crime reference JD/12794/2016.”