A brave mum has outed her grown-up daughter on social media as the culprit behind a spate of thefts from cars in MK.
And her online confession and apology has prompted a flood of responses from residents - all of them expressing sympathy and praising her courage.
The mum's remarkable move comes after people in the Wolverton and New Bradwell area had been posting their CCTV images of a mystery woman walking the streets, trying car doors in the middle of the night to see if they have been left open.
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They describe the woman as in her late 20s or 30s and often wearing a onesie.
A string of irate residents have also reported thefts of small items they had left in their cars over the past few weeks.
The mum made her surprise announcement on the local Facebook group page early yesterday morning.
She wrote: "Right...I need to tell a story. It's my daughter who's stealing from your cars. It breaks my heart."
The mum added: "I've never stolen a thing but she is hooked on heroin and crack. It's no excuse....she's bled me blind on more than one occasion but all I want to say is sorry. I've got nowhere to turn."
Rather than expressing anger at the daughter, the residents and victims of theft poured out praise and sympathy for the mum in more than 100 responses.
One reply read: "Well done mum, it takes a strong mother to admit when there child’s in the wrong and to come out to a big group like this, where she’s getting posted all the time."
Another stated: "Addiction is absolutely awful for everyone involved, and watching someone you love become a stranger because of it is completely soul destroying. And sadly only the addict can decide they want help no matter how much family love is offered. You're very brave for making this post, I hope that your daughter seeks the help she needs someday."
Many other social media users said they were sorry for the family's difficulties and suggested places where the daughter could seek help for her addiction.
One reader wrote: "It took a lot to write this. I am sure you have taken the appropriate action and reported her and from that I hope she receives the help she needs.. She has the first step - you.! She is lucky for this and she can beat this... All the best to both of you."
Another summed up the town's feeling by stating: "You are a very courageous, genuine lady, I really can't imagine how much it took you to write this. As a mum and nan I can imagine your tears rolling down your face writing this... It is not your fault your daughter has taken the wrong road in life, we can only try to guide our children we cannot force them. I admire you for your honesty, please done feel ashamed, stand tall, shoulders back, head held high because you are one very brave and caring lady. Take care, my heart goes out to you."
Help for anybody struggling with drugs is available at the Addiction Recovery Community (ARC) in Milton Keynes. Based at Farthing Grove on Netherfield, it is designed for adults in MK who are at any stage of difficulties with drug, alcohol or gambling addictions.
The service is for adults living in, or who have a GP in, Milton Keynes who are at any stage of difficulties with drug, alcohol or gambling addictions.
People can self refer and the service includes physical health checks, advice and information on reducing harm, as well as access to specialist detoxification and rehabilitation programmes.
It offers specialist psychological interventions and groups, and pharmacological treatments to manage withdrawal cravings.
ARC can be contacted on 01908 250730
More help can be found at the Support, Advice, Mentoring and Advocacy Service (SAMAS).
SAMAS is run by Community Led Initiatives and works to support long term recovery for individuals through support, advice, mentoring and advocacy service.
The service helps individuals to identify their strengths and creates a mentorship cycle which allows the people who benefit from the service to lead in its development and day to day running.
A spokesman said: "Mentoring and groups are facilitated by both staff and volunteers. We are proud to say our mentors come from all walks of life and people with lived experience of substance misuse, gambling, homelessness, mental health and offending are welcome."
Anybody needing help can contact the project coordinator for Milton Keynes, Amanda Grewal, by emailing [email protected] or by telephone on 07872069673.