Kenilworth purse-snatchers jailed

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Two women responsible for a series of purse snatches from elderly women in Kenilworth and elsewhere have been jailed for 16 months following a hearing at Warwick Crown Court on Wednesday November 25.

Cousins Ivalina Nikolaeva, 19, and Grafinya Vasileva, 25, of Bishops Road, Croydon, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft and breaching suspended sentences previously given by Redditch magistrates.

The targeting of vulnerable elderly women in this way is something that is despicably mean.

Recorder Green

Prosecutor James Bruce said on December 4 last year the pair travelled to Kenilworth where they first targeted a retired woman in a shop.

One of them jostled her while the other took her purse from her handbag. The victim’s bank card was later used to withdraw £200, although the defendants denied being responsible for that.

The woman did not realise her purse, which contained £34 in cash and £20 in store vouchers, was missing until she was at the check-out.

Another Kenilworth shopper was surrounded by the pair and a third person. While she was being distracted her purse containing £80 in cash was taken.

The pair then moved onto Stratford where two other women were targeted. A day later, they were caught in Redditch on a similar spree, and in February Redditch magistrates gave them 14-week suspended custodial sentences. Undaunted by that, they stole from a woman in Surrey in September.

Jonathan Veasey-Pugh, defending, said Vasileva needed money to support her six children, but Nikolaeva’s reason’s were “less admirable” – to support her lifestyle and buy consumer goods.

Jailing them, Recorder Green said: “I have to sentence you for a spate of thefts from persons who were vulnerable. You had planned these offences because you had travelled from Croydon to commit them.

“The targeting of vulnerable elderly women in this way is something that is despicably mean. The offences are so serious they can only be met by a sentence of immediate imprisonment.”