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Colchester: Handbag stolen from inside church

PUBLISHED: 09:57 01 March 2014 | UPDATED: 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.

A Shotley father with five drink-driving convictions has been jailed for 36 weeks after taking his mother’s car without consent and crashing it into a hedge.

Snow could fall in parts of Suffolk this morning as temperatures dropped overnight.

Trains between London and Norwich are being cancelled this morning as a result of engineering work not having been completed on time.

Police and firefighters were called to a suspected arson attack in Carlton Colville in the early hours of this morning.

Police are searching for a 52-year-old man from Leavenheath who has been reported missing.

Police have arrested a 66-year-old man in connection with an incident that caused armed officers to swoop on Ipswich town centre tonight.

Highways bosses have announced they will be carrying out a series of improvements to the road network across Suffolk and north Essex this week.

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