Cressida Dick: knife crime 'stain on our city'
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The nearly 100 Christmas parcels were stolen from driver Juliette Henry, known by locals as the “red van lady”, as she was delivering a package in Sutton Coldfield on Monday. She believes the criminals had planned the theft.
Ms Henry, who has been delivering for Hermes for seven years, used to drive an old red Royal Mail van, a Vauxhall Combo that she had bought herself.
The theft, which she believes was targeted, happened just before December 13 in Birch Croft Road.
Ms Henry, 54, said: “While I was delivering the second parcel in Birch Croft Road I heard the central locking on my van go.
“I walked towards it quickly and I saw the guys drive off. First I saw the van and then I saw a white car driving behind.
“I was in shock. I was looking for my keys and ran up the road to try to block them off.”
The driver, from Erdington, continued: “The white car was so quiet. I don’t know if it was an electric car.
“I never heard their door close. When I went to do the delivery there was no one on the road.
“Then all of a sudden I heard the central locking with the five locks.”
Speaking of the fears she might have been followed, she added: “Last Thursday I was in Whitehouse Common Road in the slip road off the main road and I remembered I delivered a parcel and saw a car pull up right behind me.
“I am wondering if that guy has taken a photo of me.
“I think they must have followed me.”
Ms Henry has been doing the same area for six years — from Whitehouse Common to Withy Farm, to the Harvester [at Bassetts Pole], London Road and Tamworth Road, and Good Hope Hospital — and says nothing similar has ever happened to her before.
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While dubbing the thieves “an absolute disgrace”, she is glad they didn’t approach her.
She said: “Other drivers have been approached with knives.”
Claiming her managers had been “brilliant”, she expressed concerns she may have put herself in danger by wearing her Hermes high vis, which she thinks could have made her stand out.
She claimed: “You think you’re doing all the right things to protect others, but did it identify me?
Since the theft, Ms Henry has been using her Ford Ka to make deliveries. However, she now was to return home more often to pick up more parcels.
She said: “My van was an old Post Office van. It was mine. It’s a distinctive van.
“All my customers, they know me. I’m the ‘red van lady’ and they used to call me ‘the postie’.”
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: ‘We were called after a delivery van was stolen from Birch Croft Road, Sutton Coldfield, at around 1.50pm on Monday, December 13.
“The driver reported dropping the keys by the van after making a delivery. These were then picked up by a man who opened the locked vehicle and made off in it.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police via their Live Chat or by calling 101 quoting 20/1871205/21.
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