A pensioner has had her trust in strangers shattered after falling victim to a thief who had asked for a lift in her car.
The victim from Peacehaven, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had her weekly allowance stolen by a woman claiming to be pregnant and abandoned in Holmbush Centre car park in Shoreham last Friday (January 4).
“I knew something wasn’t right but my instinct was to help a woman in trouble,” said the 63-year-old.
“I feel dreadfully sad. I know that I will never offer a lift to a stranger again, and all because I thought I was doing a Christian thing.”
She said she was approached by a ‘very distressed’ woman, who had been speaking to another elderly couple, carrying an armful of bags and claiming to be seven months pregnant. She said she had argued with her boyfriend, who had driven off with her bag, keys, phone and purse.
“I didn’t even let her carry on. I was so concerned. She looked terrible. I told her to get in and we’d take her home,” said the victim.
After rummaging around in the back of the car, the woman directed the victim to a restoration store in Shoreham, jumped out and rushed away – leaving behind a ‘dreadful smell’, the victim remembered, as it was ‘clear she had messed herself’.
She said £55 in notes was missing from her purse, leaving her 75-year-old husband furious and her in tears.
Sussex Police said the perpetrator was described as a white woman, in her 30s, 5ft 5ins tall with blonde curly hair in a ponytail and a tattoo down her left arm.
Police said anyone with information can report online at www.sussex.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/ or call 101 quoting 1236 of 04/01.
The victim had initially shared her ordeal on social media and said the reaction had surprised her.
She said: “When I shared my experience on social media I was astounded at the responses. Nearly 2,000 shares and over 100 comments.
“My greatest fear is that one day soon she might be confronted by a pensioner who might try to tackle her, and where might that end?”