Sidmouth car park smash and grab upset

PUBLISHED: 11:05 27 July 2016

Archant

Sidmouth resident warns about thieves targeting rural car parks after her bag was snatched.

A motorist says her ‘faith in human beings has been shattered’ after crooks smashed her car window at a beauty spot car park and made off with her handbag.

Cheryl Watson, of Sidmouth, had dropped by the National Trust site on Salcombe Hill on July 8 to show some visitors the views. Knowing they would be a short time, she tucked her bag under the seat.

When the group returned less than 15 minutes later, they found the car’s window had been smashed and the bag, containing Mrs Watson’s credit cards, phone, driving licence and purse containing a small amount of cash, gone.

She said: “It’s not the kind of thing you think happens here. We got out of the car and I didn’t want to carry my bag. I usually put it in the boot, but we were going to be five or 10 minutes, so I popped it under the seat.

“We looked at it and we did a double take - we didn’t really believe it. Then there was a sinking feeling that my bag must have gone.

“It’s been very upsetting, it shatters your faith in human beings.”

Returning home, she immediately called to cancel her cards and is now warning other car park users to be alert if they visit when the facility is quiet.

Mrs Watson added: “I just want to say as a warning to people who are walking their dogs or running, just be aware when it’s quite early in the morning or when it’s dark.

“It puts you immediately on your guard. I won’t be making that mistake again.”

Sergeant Andy Squires, of Sidmouth’s neighbourhood policing team, said officers routinely patrol eight rural car parks and put up signs warning drivers not to leave valuables in their vehicles.

He said: “Do you really need to take a handbag with your worldly possessions if you are just walking the dog? Just leave it at home.

“Only take what you need in your pocket - that is my message.”

As part of the patrols, officers check each vehicle in the car park to see if they can spot any valuables.

Sgt Squires said: “If there is nothing in the vehicle, you will not get anything stolen.”

If you can help, contact 101 quoting crime reference number CR/046050/16.

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