Thief distracted couple by shouting 'Potatoes, potatoes' before pickpocketing them

An elderly couple were targeted by a thief in a town centre supermarket. Hilary Brown's 90-year-old father and 88-year-old stepmother were shopping at Sainsbury's in Dorking High Street when they were approached by a man who was "jumping up and down" and shouting. Mrs Brown said: "He had a strange voice, it could have been foreign.

"He was white with fair hair, a stocky build and aged between late 30s and early 40s. He came up to my father and distracted him by jumping up and down and saying 'potatoes, potatoes' and 'swedes', saying all these vegetable names. My father thought 'you're a bit strange' but thought nothing of it and carried on shopping.

"But later they were round in another section of the shop and he came up to them again and did the same to my stepmother and started pushing my father. Later my father realised that his wallet had been taken out of his back pocket and my stepmother's purse had been taken out of her handbag, which was in her bag hanging on the back of the trolley. He must have unzipped her bag, taken it and zipped it back up."

The pair lost about £200 in cash, along with credit cards and a driving licence. Mrs Brown, 59, of Brockham, said: "What really incensed me was that my father has a heart condition, my stepmother has had a stroke and to target these elderly people I think is wicked." She added: "The purse that was stolen was the last present my stepmother received from her daughter before she died of cancer, so it cannot be replaced. Where has respect for the elderly gone? I hope this person cannot sleep at night for what he has done."