The Vicar of Spalding has condemned the “callous and cowardly” bag snatch from a disabled pensioner as she rode through St Mary and St Nicolas churchyard.
“The men who did this should be ashamed of themselves,” said the Rev John Bennett. “I hope, if anyone knows who they are, they will not hesitate to contact the police. I am sad that this happened so close to the parish church, a place where people come to draw strength and to find peace.”
Sheila Maggs (76) was on her way home from bingo at about 4pm on Thursday when two white men in their 20s confronted her – neither spoke and one snatched her handbag from her mobility scooter’s basket and then both men fled towards Halmergate.
There was £42 inside the bag, but Sheila was more concerned to have her diary returned along with irreplaceable photographs of three pet dogs, including a terrier cross, Lady, who has died.
Appeals for the bag to be returned if found went out on social media and our website, and it was recovered from a riverbank by a woman at about 5pm on Sunday, minus the cash and with the contents wet – but it was still good news for Sheila, who celebrates her birthday tomorrow (Wednesday).
Sheila’s granddaugter Claire Taylor said on social media: “Money means nothing, just glad she has had so much help finding her bag as the contents were extremely important to nanny. We can try to dry everything for her.
The men who did this should be ashamed of themselves. I hope, if anyone knows who they are, they will not hesitate to contact the police.Vicar of Spalding, the Rev John Bennett
“I’ll take her out to bingo to celebrate! It’s her birthday 9th March so what a wonderful gift to have her things back and so much support xx.”
Sheila didn’t sleep the night her bag was stolen.
The incident left her shaken – and her family outraged and filled with disbelief that anything like that could happen in Spalding.
On a social media site, Sheila’s daughter Angie Kiely appealed for the public to help police track down the men responsible and asked: “What is this town coming to?”
Angie told us early on Sunday afternoon: “There was someone else who saw it, who then took mum to the police station.
“She’s worried sick because there’s a diary in the bag and it’s got all of her personal numbers and the things she needs to remember, like hospital appointments, and things that she needs to do. She hasn’t got that any more and she feels lost.”
Angie describes her mum as very trusting.
“She doesn’t believe bad things about people,” said Angie. “She doesn’t believe that somebody would say something that’s not true. She’s very shaken, she’s quite upset. She was worried they (the offenders) would come round her house at one point. My brother went round and spent an awful lot of time with her.”
• Police say one of the men involved wore a grey puffa jacket and a white cap. Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting incident 305 of March 3.