Drug abuser snatched handbags

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A woman with a drug problem snatched handbags from the trolleys of elderly shoppers in three stores.

Pauline Major was sent spinning to the ground as she grabbed a car door in a bid to stop Megan Rice driving away with her handbag.

The elderly woman was facing away from her trolley as she selected some groceries in Sainsbury’s, Dronfield, on August 12.

When she turned around, her white handbag was missing and she noticed a woman walking towards the exit carrying two handbags - one of them white.

“She shouted: ‘Hey’ to the defendant who walked outside and got into the driver’s seat of a vehicle,” said Helen Griffiths, prosecuting.

“The complainant grabbed the handle of the open door but the defendant managed to slam the door shut.”

Rice, 42, drove off and Mrs Major tumbled to the ground, grazing her knee, elbow and knuckles.

Rice was later traced by police and showed them where she had dumped the bag after snatching £30 cash from it.

“She said she couldn’t remember the lady holding on to the door of the car,” said Mrs Griffiths.

Police asked Rice about a similar offence the previous day at a store in Handsworth, Sheffield, in which a bag was stolen from a woman in her 80s.

Victim Doreen Falkinder had also left her bag in an unattended trolley. This time, the bag and contents, worth £268, were not recovered.

“Both ladies found the offences very distressing and it also caused them inconvenience,” added Mrs Griffiths.

Rice, of Inglewood Avenue, Sothall, Sheffield, admitted both thefts and asked for a similar offence at Tesco, Chesterfield, to be considered.

She had a string of previous convictions for dishonesty and was on a community order at the time of the thefts.

Felicity Clarke, defending, said Rice fell ill last year and “spiralled back into drug abuse”. She was on a methadone programme and getting “back on the right track”.

Sentence was adjourned until September 24.