A heartbroken mum who has had a "difficult year" says her family's Christmas has now been ruined after thieves snatched her purse containing all her cash to buy her daughter presents. Amy Carlisle was volunteering at a charity shop, which was shut to the public at the time, when someone broke in through a back door and stole a number of items, including her coat and purse.
Amy, who has learning difficulties and epilepsy, said she "sat on the floor crying" after realising her coat, which had her purse, phone and bus pass in it, had gone missing from the charity shop in West Bridgford on Friday, December 2. The 37-year-old was hoping to make Christmas special for her four-year-old daughter this year after they suffered through a difficult year, NottinghamshireLive reports.
She had managed to save £200 to buy Christmas presents for her little girl, who also has epilepsy and autism, but has now been left heartbroken after the thief "stole Christmas" for them. Amy, who is on benefits and receives PIP, had been volunteering with the charity shop for more than a year and had been helping to clear out the shop when disaster struck.
Amy's mum Jenny says her daughter cannot have a bank card because she does not understand how money is spent, so her carers give her what she needs. She had the money for presents on her and was planning to go to the bank to put the money into her cash card account to keep it safe after her shift, but she didn't get a chance before the thieves pounced.
Jenny says she fears the theft would set her daughter back after going through a tough year.
"My heart was breaking because that money was going to my daughter. They had stolen Christmas for us. They destroyed Christmas", Amy said. "I just felt sickness in my stomach."
Besides the money, the purse also contained Ms Carlisle's bus pass and her phone. She said: "Because of my condition, my phone is my lifeline. I can ring someone whenever I need urgent help. I bought the phone on a contract. I am still paying for it."
The phone is estimated to cost £499 and her coat £65, on top of the cash for the Christmas presents. Amy had to have her bank cards replaced, as well as her bus pass. She has got a replacement for her phone - although she is still paying the contract for her stolen smartphone.
Jenny said: "I was just worried because it was such a terrible experience for her. She is vulnerable, and I was scared that the stress could give her a seizure. She does not really understand that some people commit crime."
A fundraiser has been set up to help mum Amy recover after the financial loss. Grandmother Jenny has thanked the community for donating towards the cause. The fundraising page has currently raised more than £1,000.