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Bury St Edmunds pensioner, 79, targeted by thieves in Marimba reacts after pair jailed

A 79-year-old woman who was among several people targeted by a pair of ‘professional thieves’ has spoken of her relief after they were jailed.

Audrey Busbee, of Bury St Edmunds, said she felt physically sick when her wallet was stolen from her handbag while having a coffee at Marimba, in the town’s Butter Market, on February 26.

Yesterday, Eftima Ivanova, 28, and Zlatko Alexsandrov, 47, were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court to more than a year in prison and face being deported after committing four thefts in Bury and Diss.

Eftima Ivanova and Zlatko Alexsandrov
Eftima Ivanova and Zlatko Alexsandrov

In the first incident, on February 5, in Diss, the pair broke into a cabinet at the shop their victim worked at and used her bank cards, from which she lost about £120.

As well as stealing from Mrs Busbee on February 26, the thieves took a purse from a woman in Poundland.

They also targeted an 85-year-old man in Bury on March 8, who had withdrawn £600 for a charity event.

Marimba, in Butter Market, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Paul Derrick
Marimba, in Butter Market, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Paul Derrick

After they were sentenced, Mrs Busbee said: “They deserve it, they really do for going around and doing that to people.”

She previously told SuffolkNews the pair walked by the shop and then came in looking in the shop’s freezer at the ice-creams, while her handbag was on the chair opposite.

Alexsandrov put his coat over his arm and pulled the chair towards him while Mrs Busbee was distracted. When they left, she realised her wallet was missing.

Mrs Busee said the thing that really hurt was that her late husband Frederick, who died eight years ago in July aged 78, bought her the wallet, which contained credit cards, £25 to £30 in cash, her driving licence and a lottery ticket.

It was the last thing he bought her before he died.

She said she is more wary when in town but still goes to Marimba nearly every day.

“If certain people come too close to me I move away,” she said.

The pair should repay their victims, said Mrs Busbee, who was a cashier at BP petrol station in Rougham Road and a cleaner for Lacy Scott & Knight estate agents.

“I threw my handbag away which cost me £75 - I had to knowing his hands had been on it,” she said.

Yesterday, Judge Peters said the crimes were conducted in a sophisticated and professional manner.

For the February 5 theft, the pair were each handed a four-month sentence and for the two February 26 offences, they were each sentenced to one month imprisonment, which will be served concurrently.

For the March 8 theft, the pair were jailed for 10 months, which will be served consecutively.

As their sentences were longer than 12 months, the pair face automatic deportation.