A thief stole a purse containing a worker’s only photograph of her late mother when he broke into a shop’s staff office.
The white male, believed to be about 30-years-old, stole two purses from the YMCA shop in the Grove Shopping Centre, Witham, last Friday at 4.20pm.
Manager Elaine Blandford said: “He made a beeline from Tesco straight to the shop and had a chat with one of the volunteers, but he kept wanting to get away.
“Then both the girls in the shop noticed he wasn’t around - he’d gone straight into the office. "
Two purses, belonging to the manager and her co-worker Anne Heard, were taken from the office.
Ms Blandford said: “I had £50 in there, but Anne had everything in there, including a photograph of her mum which she is desperate to get back.”
The suspect is described as a white male, about 30-years-old and about 5ft 5in tall.
He was clean shaven and was wearing a shiny tracksuit, a bobble hat and grey trousers, and left a pair of gloves behind in the office.
Anyone with information is asked to call Essex Police on 101.