Handbag thief gets five years

Two men and a woman have been jailed for a total of 10 years for a series of handbag and purse thefts across the UK.

One of the thefts was at Bon Marche in Scarborough on 23 November last year.

Piotr Molda, 45, from Hull, was charged with robbery and given a five-year sentence for conspiracy to steal, for this and various other offences.

A trio including Molda targeted a number of elderly shoppers in supermarkets and shops between September 2017 and April 2018.

An investigation involved “months of hard work, long hours and determination by our officers in gathering the evidence for these offences”, the police said.

“These people have been targeting their victims relentlessly and deliberately up and down the country. They were organised and ruthless in their pursuit to steal from unsuspecting and innocent victims.

“We must remember that many of these victims were elderly”, the police said. “They were put through a very distressing experience which was not only inconvenient but upsetting for them”.

On 15 October, at Grimsby crown court, judge Simon Jack described the offences as “appalling” and said the three carried out a “carefully calculated plan to target the most vulnerable in society”.

He noted that the average age of the victims was 76 or 77 and that the trio “made a business out of elderly vulnerable people”.