Police presenting the cheque to the christian network.

A reverend who had thousands of US dollars stolen from her bag has said donations given in response have exceeded what was stolen.

Rev Lynda Hulcoop had gone to Sainsbury’s in Old Shoreham Road, West Hove in January to collect dollars worth £7,500 ahead of a church visit to Zimbabwe.

It was intended to go towards educational support, food and medical aid and a youth music project in the country from Paraclete Christian Network International.

But after collecting the cash, Rev Hulcoop was followed out of the store by two women who used sleight of hand to remove bundles of bank notes from the bag she was carrying.

Police are appealing for witnesses.
Police are appealing for witnesses.

Following the theft, the funds had to be borrowed in order for the group to go ahead and continue with their trip as planned.

But following a police appeal, a number of donations have been given, including £500 from Sussex Police.

Rev Hulcoop said:

“I am extremely grateful to Sussex Police for their generosity and overall support throughout the investigation.

“Due to the police’s initial appeal for information following the theft we’ve had donations from people from all walks of life and managed to recuperate more than what was stolen.

“We are extremely thankful.”

Police investigator Caroline McConnell said:

“I am so pleased we were able to donate money to such a worthy cause and a hard working group of people.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to renew our initial appeal and ask anyone who recognises either of the women in the CCTV image to contact police.”

Anyone with information is asked to report it online here, quoting reference number 1054 of 23/01.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.