THUGS pulled a tea cosy over a woman’s head and robbed her while she was working with vulnerable adults.

Kaira Barnes, 20, was working at Artability - an activity centre in Rayleigh Road, Eastwood, providing support for adults with learning difficulties - when two women entered and stole her phone and purse after attacking her.

Now, the community of Eastwood has raised more than £1,500 to boost security in the area.

Kaira said: “The two women, one of whom was pregnant, walked in and shoved a pen and paper in my face.

“They said ‘post code’ so I got my phone out and brought up maps then called down another member of staff to help the service users.”

Kaira said the women then began looking at the jewellery and other works of art the centre sells before they cornered her in the kitchen.

“One of them started laughing and put a tea cosy over my head as some kind of distraction. It was quite a large one so covered my face and she then grabbed my phone.

“She also made off with my bank cards and my ID.

“It was really frightening. I just froze. I didn’t really know what was going on.

“I had two vulnerable adults with me and they were really upset.

“One of the women barged one of them out of the way on her way out of the centre which was really upsetting for him.”

Essex Police were called shortly after 2.30pm on Friday, but by 3.36pm, the centre had received an email saying no further action would be taken.

The incident has left Kaira shaken up.

“It wasn’t until the day after when I think it sunk in. I was at upstairs at home and someone came in downstairs. When I shouted down to them and they didn’t respond, I just started crying.

“We had Jehovah’s Witnesses and I didn’t want to answer the door.

“It’s just disgusting - you hear this happens but you never think it will happen to you.”

After reports of the incident went viral on social media, community representative Kimberly O’Connell launched a Go Fund Me to help improve security.

She said: “There’s not a lot of security there so we wanted to help increase it.

“I set up the page on Saturday and by yesterday it had raised more than £1,500 - it was absolutely terrific.

“But now, Ian Martin from iCubed Home Cinema has pledged to donate and install a full system for free so we can use the £1,500 to go towards the holiday fund for the vulnerable adults who use the centre.”

Kaira added: “It’s absolutely incredible and does make you feel slightly better. My nan owns the centre and I don’t think she realised how much people appreciate the centre. She was speechless.”

'We assess every crime' 

“We assess every call we receive according to threat, harm and risk posed, the vulnerability of those involved and the investigative opportunities available to us.

“This determines if crimes are allocated to an officer for further investigation.

“When a crime is filed, it means that there are currently no other lines of enquiries for our officers to follow up upon. It doesn’t mean that the crime has been closed as any additional information received in relation to the incident will be looked into and investigated where appropriate.

“If anyone was in or around Rayleigh Road on the afternoon of Friday, June 28 and witnessed the incident or any suspicious behaviour, please contact us on 101, quoting crime reference number 42/101822/19.

“Information can also be given anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or”