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Thousands raised for 85-year-old stroke victim, pickpocketed in Bexleyheath Co-op

PUBLISHED: 10:13 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:41 10 October 2017

Police have identified two suspects following the pickpocketing incident in Long Lane Co-op. Photo: Bexley Police

Police have identified two suspects following the pickpocketing incident in Long Lane Co-op. Photo: Bexley Police

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A fundraiser was set up over the weekend

Generous donors have helped support a vulnerable pensioner who was targeted by pickpockets in Bexleyheath.

The 85-year-old was shopping in the Long Lane Co-op store last month for the first time since suffering a stroke, when two men stole her purse with £60 inside.

Police released CCTV footage showing two men standing behind the elderly woman, one of whom reaches into her trolley taking the purse.

The video sparked outrage online, and one viewer decided to lend his support to the elderly victim.

On Sunday, cab driver Roshan Varma set up a Gofundme page to support the Bexleyheath resident and her family.

So far, the page has already raised more than £2,000 for the pensioner.

Mr Varma said: “After seeing a video on my Twitter feed, I felt to sick to the core, it upset me and many others.

“It’s just a small gesture. A little kindness will hopefully go a small way in restoring her faith in humanity.”

More than 170 people have donated to the page, with donations ranging from £5 to £60. and police have been in constant contact with Mr Varma and the victim.

A spokesperson from Bexley Police said: “The victim and her family were visited by us yesterday and have been informed of the collection.

“They would like to pass their thanks on to everybody that has kindly donated and are overwhelmed by the public support.

“The family are adamant that they cannot accept the money, however they believe the best thing to do is donate it to a charity close to them.

“The victim has decided she would like the money to be donated to a stroke charity.

“Officers are now working in partnership with Mr Varma and the victim along with her family to arrange for the donation to be made in her name.

“Bexley Police would like to take this opportunity to thank the Bexley and wider community for their generosity and continued support.”

With the investigation ongoing, a spokesperson from the force said: “The two suspects have now been formally identified.

“Enquiries are still ongoing in to the investigation.”

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