Hospital theft: what we did after my mum’s handbag was stolen

Act fast when the thieves strike

Act fast when the thieves strike

It was devastating enough to find out my mum had suffered a heart attack. But when she called in hysterics after her handbag was stolen from a London hospital, we had to act fast to ensure everything was secure.

Nothing can ever prepare you for having your personal possessions stolen, especially in such a difficult time anyway.

I’ve come up with my own list of dos and don’ts from this experience, which could help if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate scenario.

Quick way to find bank numbers for lost cards

Working at MSE, I was able to get colleagues to search our tool for the numbers of all the banks concerned. They sent the numbers straight to my mobile so I could block all my mother’s credit and debit cards quickly.

Get locks changed as quickly as possible

Speed is of the essence, if for peace of mind more than anything else. We managed to get the locks changed within two hours, and luckily, with minimal cost, as my boyfriend is a builder.

Be ready for the financial sting in calling out a locksmith (not so easy when you have no cash or cards on you).

At this point, if you have a good neighbour, close friend or trusted family member, ask them if they can lend you the emergency money.

Report the theft to the police if you want insurance to pay out

As my mum was in hospital, we first alerted its security team and then called the police to report the theft.

The crime reference number is essential if you’re planning to make a claim on an insurance policy, such as for a mobile phone. For my mum, this was needed to bypass the £10 replacement cost for her free London travel pass.

Do you really need to carry those valuables?

Luckily, my mum had her phone on her when her bag was stolen and only a few quid in her purse. Had her ‘bed neighbour’ suffered the theft instead, she would have lost an iPad.

If you’re going anywhere, ask yourself whether you really need to take that expensive gadget with you. You may be targeted because of these items, so keep them hidden or leave them at home if possible.

What about my mum?

She was admitted to hospital in mid-October and returned to a safe and secure home over the weekend.

Please let us know any of your tips to deal with lost or stolen items in the comments section below or in the MSE forum.