AN elderly woman who lost hundreds of pounds while out shopping has spoken of her relief after a kind greengrocer returned it to her.

June Read, 79, panicked when she realised she couldn't find £650 she had withdrawn during a shopping trip in Wanstead.

Mrs Read of Churchfields in South Woodford, began to retrace her steps, but feared the money could be lost forever.

"I really began to panic, I was worried about how I was going to pay my bills and even get the bus home," she said.

"I felt immediately faint when I couldn't find it. £650 means so much to me."

But when she returned to JD Harvey greengrocer's in High Street, she breathed a huge sigh of relief to discover her purse had been found by manager, James Van-de-Peer.

The 50-year-old had spotted the purse on a bench where Mrs Read had earlier taken a rest last month.

He said: "There's a lot of drunks round Wanstead High Street at that time of day and I didn't want someone to steal it.

"I was in two minds to take it to Wanstead Police Station, but instead I took it back to the shop and hoped the owner would return for it.

"The idea of someone taking that much money from an elderly person is just not on."

Mrs Reed added: "I really can't thank him enough. You really don't hear these kinds of stories these days.

Mrs Read's granddaughter Tracey Staines, 34, of Algers Close, Loughton, said: "I just couldn't believe it when my nan told me.

"I believe in karma and hopefully something good will now happen to the greengrocer."

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