Thief stole cancer patient's handbag as she slept

Caught by two have-a-go heroes

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Alan Price

Calvin Reid, a 46-year-old from Colchester, has been jailed for two years, after stealing a cancer victim's handbag from hospital. Reid pounced as the 67-year-old slept in a private room in Essex County Hospital, taking her bag from beside her bed. She woke up to find him leaning over her bed, and called nurses who chased him down the corridor. They passed two delivery men, who took up the pursuit and chased Reid through the streets to apprehend him.

The judge called him the 'lowest of the low', but he's not alone.

Delivery men Alan Price (pictured) and Jamie Thompson caught up with Reid and managed to wrestle the bag off him, and return it to the patient (with £200 still inside). Price was also able to take a photograph of the subject before he got away, and he was arrested within an hour.

Reid had 227 crimes on his record, was once banned from every shop in Britain, and has been banned from Colchester town centre for prolific shoplifting. He was jailed for two years.

According to the Mirror, Judge Patricia Lynch told him: "You are the lowest of the low. This was particularly mean and unpleasant. Your victim was lying there prone, asleep and you entered the room and took advantage."

Stealing from the sick

It takes a certain sort of person to steal from the sick, but it appears Reid is far from the only criminal to have sunk so low. There have been several cases in recent months.

Last month a hospital cleaner from Aspley, Nottingham, stole a mobile phone from a cancer patient who had just finished a course of radiotherapy. The young patient had dropped it on the floor, so the cleaner picked it up and pocketed it. He didn't profit from the theft, as he couldn't get it to work, so he dumped it in a public toilet. However, he was caught on CCTV and fined £350.

In March, a carer stole a patient's life savings when he gave her his bank card. The man, who had learning difficulties and could not remember his PIN, relied on her to withdraw cash for him. She withdrew £9,831.99 and spent a fortune on clothes, shoes and handbags. She was jailed for eight months and was made to repay the money.

In January a nurse from Hartlepool was jailed for 15 months after stealing bank cards from an 87-year-old patient and using them to go on a three-month gambling spree. She spent £5,000 of the woman's money - and continued to spend even after her death.

At the end of last year it emerged that a carer had stolen three rings from the hand of an 88-year-old dementia patient in a residential care home in Manchester. She sold the rings - worth thousands of pounds - to a pawn shop for £54.

In court some of the criminals tried to explain their actions as being the result of large debts, mental problems, addictions or family issues. However, in each case the judge was unmoved - and they paid the price for targeting people at their most vulnerable.

UK burglary hotspots

UK burglary hotspots