A grateful shopper has thanked the kind-hearted stranger who replaced the £80 she lost when her purse was stolen in Lidl.

Kathleen Bating, of Great Dunmow, was shopping in the Rayne Road, Braintree, store when her purse, containing cash and all of her cards, was taken from inside her handbag.

A stranger, hearing Mrs Bating’s distress about the incident, approached and handed over a wad of cash.

It was until later that Mrs Bating realised it was the entire £80 she had lost.

Mrs Bating said: “She just said she could afford it and left it with me. I thought it was £20 at first, but when she had left I realised it was £80.

“You just do not hear about this sort of this happening, not for this amount anyway.

“There are no words to describe what she did, it is just so generous – especially around Christmas time.”

Mrs Bating is a regular shopper at the Rayne Road store and believes someone removed her purse between 11am and 11.30am last Thursday.

She said: “I was in the isle looking at the baskets and suddenly heard the bell on my purse so I turned around.

“There was a woman there scurrying away but I didn’t feel I could say anything.

“I rushed out of the store to check that I had not dropped it in the car park but it wasn’t there.”

Another lady also had her handbag stolen and both reported the thefts to Lidl staff at the same time.

But Mrs Bating says there was little the store offered in the way of support or help to catch the culprits.

She said: “Lidl told me they could not access the CCTV and gave me a leaflet to call customer services.

“It has put me off shopping in Lidl because they were so unhelpful.

“I am so grateful to the lady who did this, it meant I could do my Christmas shopping.”

Lidl did not respond to The Times' requests for comment.

Any witnesses should contact police on 101.