AN elderly woman has been left distraught after an opportunist thief swiped her handbag in a supermarket car park.

The woman has been shopping with her husband at Morrisons, at Water Glade Retail Park, Old Road, when the incident happened.

They had been loading their bags into the boot of their silver Toyota Carina, when she placed her handbag in the front seat.

She left the door open to cool the car and returned from the boot to find that someone had stolen the bag.

Investigating officer, PC Nikki Heath, said: "This theft happened within a matter of seconds which is why this couple did not see anyone nor did they realise such a crime could be carried out so easily and out of their sight.

“We’re hoping that someone did see this person steal the handbag.

“This couple, especially the woman whose handbag was stolen, have been left distraught by this theft and have had to go through the hassle of cancelling bank cards.”

The black canvas-style bag contained various cash cards, a wallet, a purse, a mobile telephone and cash.

Anyone with information about the incident, which happened shortly after 4pm on Tuesday, is asked to call Clacton’s Neighbourhood Crime Team on 101.