Stolen bag and cash returned to Peterborough owner after seven years

Parveen Ashraf
Image caption Mrs Ashraf's handbag was stolen from her house seven years ago

A stolen handbag has been returned to its owner seven years after the theft - still containing the £250 that was in it when it was taken.

Street cleaner Ian Lilley and his team discovered the bag under a bush and traced it to Parveen Ashraf from Werrington, Peterborough.

She said: "The money was still intact and it was so honest of them to return it.

"Anyone else could have easily pocketed what was in the bag."

She added: "It must have been a pretty thick thief just to discard it like that."

The bag was stolen when Mrs Ashraf left it in her kitchen, with the door open "just for a minute or so".

She said: "We heard the door slam and the bag was gone.

"When it was returned and it still had the money, I was just over the moon. I had intended to use it to buy my husband's birthday present."

The bag was found not far from Mrs Ashraf's house and contained not only the money, but a photograph of her and her husband, some paperwork, her make-up and a small prayer.

"I am a Muslim and carry a prayer with me when I travel. It was still there, and I really think I was being looked after," she said.

The only thing missing was one credit card. Mrs Ashraf said she had cancelled all her cards immediately after the theft and nothing was taken from her account.

Chris Jackson, a manager at Enterprise Peterborough, the company which provides street cleaning services to Peterborough City Council, said: "It's what we would expect of our team, but obviously we're very proud of them as well."

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