Thieves snatch disabled pensioner’s purse after dousing her in ketchup in Ilford supermarket

PUBLISHED: 19:29 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:14 11 September 2018

Marks & Spencer on Ilford High Road.

Marks & Spencer on Ilford High Road.


Callous thieves doused a disabled pensioner in ketchup before snatching her purse as she shopped for groceries in an Ilford supermarket.

Mrs Dodkins, who requested her first name not be published, told the Recorder how she was set upon by two women while shopping in Marks and Spencer, in High Road, on Wednesday (September 5) between 1pm and 2pm.

“I had leaned my two [walking] sticks under the meat counter,” said Mrs Dodkins, who suffers from periphal neuropathy – a condition which has left her numb from the waist down.

“I was just making a decision when some one on the left said ‘oh look, what happened to your dress?”

Mrs Dodkins turned around to discover ketchup had been poured all over the back of her.

“They must have done it without me realising,” said the Barley Lane resident.

Mrs Dodkins then told of how one of the two suspects - who she described as a “very very hefty woman” - proceeded to try and snatch her bag under the pretence of helping clean her up.
“She said ‘let met do this and let me do that’ and then I shouted ‘Some one help! Somone help me!’ and then they ran off,” Mrs Dodkins added.

She said that, while she was able to hold onto her hand bag, one of the ladies managed to steal her purse from inside during the scuffle.

Inside her purse was around £280 in cash, not including loose change; bank cards; the keys to her home and her diary containing her name and address.

Mrs Dodkins said that she also sustained bruises in the altercation as she was pushed up against wall fixtures.

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “Detectives from the East Area Command Unit are investigating an incident at the Marks & Spencer store in Ilford on the afternoon of 5 September in which an elderly woman had tomato ketchup squirted on her clothes in order to distract her while her purse was stolen.

“The suspects are two women.

“The investigation is at an early stage.

“Enquiries continue, including analysis of CCTV at the store.

“There has been no arrest at this stage.

A Marks and Spencer spokeswoman said: “We are supporting the police with their investigation.”

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