Warwick mum praises ‘hero’ in Leamington bag snatch incident

Claire Wightman with her daughter Nancy.
Claire Wightman with her daughter Nancy.

A mystery man has been hailed a “hero” after chasing after a thief for a young mum who had her handbag snatched while walking between Leamington and Warwick.

Although he did not know Claire Wightman, who was pushing her 17-month-old daughter Nancy in her pushchair along Warwick New Road when the incident occurred, the man, after witnessing the theft, halted his car, leapt out and gave chase to the thief, before managing to retrieve the bag - from which nothing had been taken - and return it to Claire.

Claire, who had stopped and moved to the front of the pushchair to give Nancy some water when the bag-snatcher struck, had tried to chase him herself, despite having a pushchair with a toddler to run with. She said: “I shouted after him to take the purse and money, but please drop the bag, because it contained my keys and other items that are important to me.

“He didn’t stop, so I turned the pushchair around and started running after him.”

Claire saw the man divert off into what she thought was a driveway, then as she approached, she heard shouting coming from the trees. She said: “I heard someone shout, ‘Give me the bag!’, then another man emerged with my bag. The thief ran off.

“I told this man he was a hero. Then his wife and baby got out of their car and his wife gave me a hug. I told him what an amazing difference he had made to me life.

“He told me his name was Anthony and that he lived locally, but I don’t know anything else about him, apart from the fact that he has a maroon-coloured car.”

Claire, who lives in Wilmhurst Road, Warwick, said she felt more shocked that someone had been kind enough to stop what they were doing and help here than by the fact that she had fallen victim to a theft, adding: “But it’s still appalling that this thief decided to target me while I was attending to my baby.

“I no longer put anything valuable under the pushchair and carry a rucksack instead. I thought other people should be aware that this kind of thing is happening and I wanted to say there is a hero on the streets, as well as thieves.”

The incident occured outside the Guide Dogs centre in Warwick New Road, Leamington, on Thursday August 14 at around 6pm. The thief is described as being aged 16 or 17, wearing a navy jacket and jeans and was of a slight build, with dark hair. Anyone who witnessed the incident or may be able to help trace the man is asked to call police on 101.