A DISGRACEFUL thief stole a handbag off a disabled child’s wheelchair while her mother browsed in a charity shop.

The theft could have had serious repercussions for ten-year-old Amelie as the bag contained her emergency medication and her mother had to push her along the road from Westcliff to Leigh.

Tania Tibbles, 38, was out shopping with Amelie, who suffers from a number of serious medical conditions which means she relies on a wheelchair and cannot speak.

The pair were out shopping in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, on Saturday and after withdrawing money for some new shoes, were in Mind charity shop.

Tania’s father Peter said: “Tania was just browsing and had left her handbag on Amelie’s chair.

“She did notice a man looking through the window but didn’t think much of it.”

The man eventually came into the shop shortly before Tania and Amelie left the shop.

Mr Tibbles, 58, from Leigh, added: “When she noticed her bag was no longer there, she rushed back to the shop.

“The man clearly saw Amelie in the chair - she couldn’t speak or do anything so he got away with it.”

The bag included house keys, a purse and a phone leaving the pair stranded.

Tania pushed Amelie’s wheelchair two miles to the Elms pub in Leigh where her son worked so she could pick up house keys and then another mile to their home.

Mr Tibbles added: “The concern is the phone as it has all of the Great Ormond Street Hospital and medical contacts and is how they contact Tania for medicines and appointments.

“Amelie has another appointment this Thursday and is prone to infections, so this phone was a lifeline.

“The thief probably saw Tania at the cashpoint and targeted her for the money.”

Anyone with information about the theft or any witnesses who saw what happened call Essex Police on 101.