Callous crooks and blundering bank staff almost caused a Christmas disaster for a robbery victim left £4,000 out of pocket.
But the Citizen stepped in to investigate the festive fraud - and successfully demanded the stolen cash be refunded in time for the big day.
Victim Keeley East thought she was being a Good Samaritan when she stopped to help two women asking for directions to the hospital.
She even got out of her car, which she’d parked outside Aldi at Bradwell Common, to stand in the rain and draw them a map.
“While I was distracted, an accomplice must have opened my car’s passenger door and rifled through my handbag, which was in the footwell,” said mum-of-two Keeley.
She was oblivious to the crime until the next morning, when she realised four of her debit cards were missing from her purse.
She immediately called her bank, NatWest, to discover the crooks had already had a spree with her cards, spending hundreds on mobile phones, computer games and Waitrose shopping.
Disturbingly they had also transferred £4,000 hard-earned cash from Keeley’s account into their own account.
“Police treated this transfer as a cut and dried case of fraud. The bank however, was not so obliging,” said Keeley.
“Though NatWest refunded the cash spent in shops, they refused to repay the £4,000 transfer – insisting it was NOT a fraud.”
Distraught Keeley battled with the bank for a week before calling the Citizen.
This week, within one working day of us calling Nat West press office, the money was back in Keeley’s account.
A bank spokesman said: “On this occasion our customer service fell short of the high standards we aim to provide.”