'Shameful' thief who stole Sunderland OAP's Christmas money apologises and returns her cash

A Metro train.
A Metro train.
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A thief branded 'shameful' in a police appeal when an elderly woman's Christmas money was stolen on a Metro train in Sunderland has apologised and returned the cash.

As reported in the Echo late last year, the 71-year-old widow had saved up all year to buy presents for her family when she accidentally left her handbag behind on a Metro from Pallion to Park Lane.

She alerted Metro staff who intercepted the train, at about 1.10pm on November 14, and the bag was found. However, the £375 had gone missing from inside.

In one of two media appeals that followed, British Transport Police Investigating officer, Pc Ian Hancox said: "This theft against an elderly woman is shameful, and my only hope is that those responsible seek to redeem themselves before Christmas, and come forward to apologise to the victim and return her money that she had saved up all year."

The force has now revealed that the man responsible came forward following the appeals.

The 20-year-old has been given a conditional caution and repaid the money he stole from from the victim, along with a letter of apology.

Pc Hancox, said: “Following the second media appeal in relation to this theft, a man was interviewed and subsequently cautioned for this offence.

“I hope that this offers some form of closure to the victim, who also had her money returned to her along with a letter of apology from the offender.

“The Metro is a very safe way to travel around the Tyne and Wear area.

"More than 100,000 passenger journeys are made on the Metro every day and incidents like this are very rare.

“We have a lot of crime prevention advice that we offer to the public including for example using a bag with a shoulder strap that means you can carry your bag across your body and keep it on your lap while seated on the train. This way, there’s no risk of leaving it behind.

“You can also avoid carrying large amounts of cash on you by using a debit card or cash card, which you can ask your bank for if you don’t already have one.

“I am pleased that the offender in this case has identified himself, accepted responsibility for his actions and shown full remorse.”