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A bit of cunning detective work and a lot of goodwill by a street cleaner meant a woman who had her purse stolen managed to get it back again.

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Jean Hagon, 61, was shopping in Cranbrook Road, Ilford on Thursday after getting £100 out from the bank which was to last her the entire week.

When she went to make a purchase she realised someone had dipped into her bag and stolen her purse.

Mrs Hagon said: “I had photos in there and my driving licence and credit and gym card. I never felt a thing, it was only when I went to buy something I realised it was not there.”

That morning Steven Best, 53, of Walthamstow was doing his rounds with his colleague Mic Morgan.

On going to empty the bin outside Barclays bank, High Road, Ilford he said he noticed the purse and became suspicious.

Mr Best said: “I went through the purse looking for some cards, she had her driving licence in there and a receipt.”

From the receipt Mr Best discovered that the owner of the purse had been to the Feet First chiropodist in Clements Road, Ilford that morning.

He decided to take the purse to the clinic as they would have the contact details for the purse’s owner.

Mrs Hagon, of Hornchurch, said: “I was shocked at getting it back. I was unhappy to lose the £100 but was very happy to get my purse back. I really would like to thank him. It’s good to know there are good people out there.”

Mr Best said he can spot when a purse has been emptied and thrown away by thieves, rather than thinking it is rubbish.

He said: “I used to find one or two a week but now we get one a fortnight, it’s not as bad as it was. I’m pleased she got it back or she would have lost her driving licence and cards.

“People should do more good deeds definitely.”

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