�3,500 cash snatch in Stratford

A hapless father found a trip to budget 99p store cost him a fortune – after thieves snatched an envelop full of �3,500 cash he had stuffed into a plastic shopping bag.

Distraught Liaqat Khan popped into the store in Stratford shopping centre after getting out his savings in �50 notes from a nearby Halifax bank for a forthcoming holiday.

But while queuing for the till at about 11.30am on Saturday (22 October) he now suspects “two Eastern European looking women acting strangely” stole his money.

Moments later, the panic-stricken 42-year-old discovered the envelope with the cash had gone and the plastic bag in which it had been carried had been slashed open.

He says he has sleepless nights after losing the money he was due to take to Pakistan to support his wife and five children who live there.

Information analyst Liaqat, who has a second job as a security guard during evenings and weekends, said: “They rely on this money. This is a huge blow. I’m so upset. I work really hard for this money. I’m not rich. I work two jobs and it would take two and a half months to earn that.

“I’m losing sleep, I’m not eating properly, thinking about this.

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“I know I should have taken more care but I’ve been here 14 years and nothing like this has ever happened.

“Just after I joined the queue, a middle aged woman stood in front of me. A younger woman, in her mid twenties, who I think was with her, came behind me. I should have checked my money sooner because they were behaving strangely.”

Luckily, the thieves failed to notice an extra �1,500 in another envelope and other valuable documents, including a passport, Liaqat was also carrying in the bag.

Liaqat, from Plaistow, is convinced the thieves followed him from the bank to the shop. He has reported the theft to police, but holds out little hope that he will see his money again.

He added: “I’m not optimistic at all. The police said there is little chance of recovering the money.”

A Newham Police spokesman said: “The incident has been reported to police and enquiries are ongoing.”