Purse dipping woman awaits her sentence

A THIEF who preyed on vulnerable elderly shoppers is set to be sentenced.

Elena Venkova, 20, of Halifax Old Road, Birkby, admitted three counts of theft at Calderdale Magistrates Court.

Bulgarian Venkova dipped into the bags of three women aged 63, 81, 70-years-old, took their purses, stole the cash inside and then dumped them in Clinton Cards, Woolshops.

The court heard the first offence took place on February 17.

The 63-year-old victim was in River Island, in Halifax, when she noticed Venkova coming very close to her before leaving quickly.

It was only then that the woman noticed her purse containing £210 was missing from her bag.

CCTV footage obtained by the police showed Venkova discarding the purse in a drawer in Clinton Cards.

On February 21 an 81-year-old woman was out shopping with a friend in Marks and Spencer.

This time the two friends were jostled by Venkova.

The court heard that they laughed about how rude she was and the friend even asked: “Are you trying to rob us?”

It was only later they realised that was exactly what Venkova intended and a purse containing £24 was missing.

Once again CCTV footage showed Venkova going into Clinton Cards and discarding the purse.

The final instance happened on February 25, again on Woolshops, and this time a 70-year-old woman was the victim.

Venkova stole a purse containing £105 and threw it in a bin.

She was arrested and admitted all to police in interview.

Maggie Cavanagh, defending, said Venkova came to live in Britain in January and her family are struggling to make ends meet.

Mrs Cavanagh admitted it was “virtually inevitable” that a custodial sentence would be handed down in this case.

Magistrates decided their sentencing powers were not sufficient and committed the case to Bradford Crown Court on March 27.