Special orthopaedic boots belonging to the two-year-old daughter of Hollyoaks actress Carli Norris that were thought to have been stolen, have been handed in to police.The leather boots were handmade for the child; a disabling condition in both feet means that she needs them to walk properly. On August 1st, they were accidentally left on top of a car park payment machine outside Colchester Hospital, where they had just been collected; when the family went back, they were gone.
Police issued CCTV pictures of two people they want to speak to; [...] a man and woman, both thought to be in their 50s, who were a few places behind the family in the queue at the machine.This morning, the boots were handed in to Clacton police station by a woman 'from the area'.
So what happened during those ten days? Did conscience get the better of them; were the thieves swayed by the public appeal by a celebrity mum? Or was it the little girl's disability that made all the difference?
The shoes could not have been worn by any other child, but that was presumably not evident at first. In much the same way, my prescription sunglasses in their 'designer' case were stolen on a cross-channel ferry; I like to imagine the thief or the ultimate purchaser painfully squinting through them with a truly abominable headache.
I suppose much depends on whether they were stolen to use or to sell - the regular large car boot sales near Clacton may be relevant here - but it's clear they were removed from the hospital surroundings and taken to someone's home; the ten day and fifteen mile interval makes it highly implausible that the intention was to hand them in all along.
It would surely take a distinctly lax morality and a lack of consideration to steal a child's shoes in the first place, yet, for the seemingly unscrupulous perpetrators, the public appeal of a disabled little girl and her actress mother outweighed the risks of being traced when returning them.
Voilà: opportunistic criminality, sentimentality and celebrity worship all rolled into one little story.