Stolen handbag returned to owner nearly 40 years later
- Credit: Mike Izzard
A St Albans postie made a “one in a million” find of a stolen handbag and has returned it to its rightful owner in Hatfield - nearly 40 years after she was mugged.
Yesterday afternoon, Mike Izzard from Hatfield was planting daffodil bulbs on a stretch of the Alban Way when his spade struck something unusual.
Mike has been using his spare time renovating the area around Nast Hyde Halt disused railway station as a labour of love when he is not working at the St Albans sorting office.
“I was just finishing off and I thought it would be nice to have a few bulbs as people sit on the bench,” he said.
“I dug a spade into the ground and a little coin came up - and then a couple more came up. I thought I’d struck gold!”
Further digging revealed he had in fact found seven and a half pence, and a very old handbag.
In there he found an old bank card, dated 1979-1981 and with the name of Angela Dimond on it.
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“Clearly this had been here a while,” said Mike.
One Facebook search later, Mike got an “overwhelming” response and was able to return the bag - and find out how it had ended up buried on the Alban Way.
Angela, who is now 63, works at the University of Hertfordshire as a librarian.
She recalled to the Welwyn Hatfield Times what had happened there back when she was about 26 years old.
“I was on my way to my mother’s house in Ellenbrook, and I just got to near the bridge on the Alban Way and somebody came out of the bushes, snatched my bag and ran off with it,” she said.
The cream leather handbag was a “trendy” one, she said, and she was very fond of it.
As well as the bag and the cards, she lost a few pound notes to the masked mugger, but after reporting it to the police that seemed to be the end of the story - until yesterday.
“That purse of hers has been buried for the best part of 40 years, before I know it I’m heading over to her for a cup of tea - you couldn’t make it up really,” said Mike. “It’s a one in a million chance of it happening.”
Angela had been glad that the mugger had done nothing more than steal her purse, but it led her to avoid the Alban Way over the next years. “It’s a shame as it’s a pleasant walk,” she said.
Now that she’s met Mike and learned about his project to beautify the station, however, she’s planning to go back for walks there. “They say there’s a silver lining to everything, but this one took a while!” she said.