Purse snatcher leaves Dagenham mother distraught after cherished memento of “special” dad taken

Karen LeSurf with a picture of her dad George Clarke.

Karen LeSurf with a picture of her dad George Clarke. - Credit: Archant

A mother whose purse was snatched by a pickpocket has said the loss of an item belonging to her beloved dad has left her distraught.

Karen LeSurf, of Thornton’s Farm Avenue, Dagenham, carried a photo i.d. bus pass used by her dad George Clarke in her bag for years since his death from cancer aged 52 because she said it was like “having a part of him with me”.

The 45-year-old child minder was shopping at The Card Factory store, Romford, when the purse containing the pass along with £110, credit cards and pictures of her daughter Georgia, 16, were stolen.

“He was my world, I was 24 when I lost him,” said Karen of her hobbying magician dad who served in the army catering corps.

“He used to call me his shadow. Wherever he went I went. He was special, he was my dad.

“Just having that [bus pass] with me was having a part of him. It was something he touched and he used.”

Karen said she was looking for a card for a friend who had just had a baby when the women barged into her twice and then left the store in Laurie Walk at about 11.20am on Friday.

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She she realised her purse was missing and went after her.

Karen said she caught up with the woman but found her without the missing items.

Police confirmed they arrested a woman in connection with a pickpocket incident and said she had been bailed until early February pending further enquiries.

Anyone with information should call Det Con Dave Chitty at Havering police on 01708 779 137 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.