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British Transport Police (BTP) officers are appealing for information after a suspected luggage thief stole a suitcase containing a woman’s belongings, only to later return them minus the suitcase.
A man is believed to have taken the passenger’s suitcase from a train at Burgess Hill station, Sussex, before returning all of the contents – including a passport, make-up and jewellery – just over two weeks later in a black holdall.
Officers want to speak to the man pictured in the CCTV images in connection with the theft, which took place on a Brighton to London St. Pancras service around 3.20pm on Tuesday, 21 June.
The victim, a 51-year-old woman from Brighton, boarded a train to St. Pancras and had placed her suitcase on the floor.
A short while later she noticed that it had been taken. Fellow passengers informed her that a man had left the train with the suitcase at Burgess Hill and she reported the incident to police.
PC Paul Gardner, the investigating officer, said: “We launched an investigation into the theft, with CCTV at Burgess Hill showing a man leaving the station with the victim’s distinctive-looking suitcase.
“Just over two weeks later, on Friday, 8 July, station staff at Burgess Hill reported that a black holdall containing all of the victim’s belongings had been left on one of the platforms.
“CCTV confirmed that the man who had left the holdall was the same man who took the suitcase in the first place.”
Police would like to identify and speak to the man pictured in the CCTV images in connection with the incident.
Issuing advice to passengers, PC Gardner added: “We take the theft of passenger property extremely seriously and one of our primary policing objectives is to reduce the number of people who become a victim.
“Always keep your belongings close by, check it regularly and be extra vigilant when the train stops at a station.
“If you move to another carriage, take your valuables with you – never leave them unattended and report any suspicious behaviour to staff or a police officer.”
Anyone with information should contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 and quote reference B11/LSA of 03/08/11.