Harborough man jailed after stealing elderly woman's bag

Tommy Rooney
Tommy Rooney

A Harborough man who stole an elderly woman’s handbag in Peterborough city centre has been jailed for more than a year.

Police were alerted to the incident which happened on January 25 at around midday at a bus stop where the 80-year-old was waiting for a bus.

A review of CCTV footage showed 26-year-old Tommy Rooney had followed the woman for 40 minutes prior to the offence, shortly after she had withdrawn cash from a bank.

The woman placed her bag down on the floor next to her and Rooney saw this as an opportunity to swoop in and make off with it.

He ran off towards the Queensgate shopping centre before getting into a silver 4x4.

Officers were alerted to the incident and tracked down the vehicle Rooney was using, however when he was directed to stop he drove off at speed, nearly driving head-on into another police car.

Officers lost sight of him however several members of the public called in stating they had just seen a man pull up in Lyvelly Gardens and mount a garden fence before returning to the vehicle to change clothing and make off over the fence again.

Rooney was located in Newark Road and searched by officers who found two small bags of cannabis on him, as well as some of the victim’s stolen belongings including cash, bank cards and a scratch card. Further along Newark Road officers found a number of loyalty cards in the victim’s name discarded on the ground.

Rooney, of Greenacres off Leicester Road, just north of Market Harborough, was charged with theft, possession of a class B drug, dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

On Friday February 22 he appeared at Peterborough Crown Court, having admitted the offences at a previous hearing, and was sentenced to a total of 15 months in prison and must forfeit the drugs. He has also been disqualified from driving for 19 months and will be required to take a retest.

PC Lyndsey Bradshaw said: “Rooney showed no regard for the law in his actions that day, stealing from an elderly member of our community and trying to evade police.

“I am pleased we were able to return the victim’s belongings to her and hopefully this sentence shows that justice has been served.”