A devastated family has made a heart-felt plea for thieves to return a sacred lock of hair that belonged to their deceased baby girl.
Charlotte Shaw of Dale Close, Langwith, has kept the precious hair from her daughter, Chaye-Lia, with her at all times since the death of the four-month-old last year.
But sneaky thieves are thought to have taken her purse, which contained the hair, during a distraction theft on Saturday night.
The incident happened at Mansfield nightspot, Illusions, on Clumber Street, and police have been studying CCTV footage in a bid to identify the culprit.
Her mother, Trudy Shaw, said: “She is absolutely devastated, she was inconsolable when she realised it had been taken.
“She takes the hair wherever she goes.
“We don’t want the money or the purse back, we don’t care, they can be replaced, but the lock of hair can’t be. We just want it back.
“Charlotte is heartbroken, she’s not been eating since it happened.”
It is thought the small purse was lifted from a bag that was across Charlotte’s shoulder when she was distracted.
It was not until sometime later that she realised the purse had vanished and began to panic.
The few strands of light-coloured hair, which are in a tiny clear grip-seal bag, is the only memento left belonging to baby Chaye-Lia, who died in July last year.
An inquest in her death last month revealed that the tot had been found one morning by Charlotte ‘blue and floppy’ in her crib, before she was rushed to hospital.
Doctors were unable to resuscitate her, while Charlotte was told that she could have not done any more to save her.
Chaye-Lia was born premature and suffered from numerous conditions, including heart and lung disease, and had Polymicrogyria, a rare brain disorder.
Despite this doctors said she had begun to make good progress. The coroner ruled that she had died from natural causes as a result of her conditions.
Grandmother Trudy said the tot’s death had ‘come out of the blue’ and left the family heartbroken.
“It’s been very, very hard,” she said.
“The inquest has given some closure, and a lot of questions have been laid to rest, but it’s still very raw.
“Chaye-Lia’s hair is the only thing we have left of her, and we want it back.”
Police have confirmed that they are looking in to the incident from Saturday night, and sifting through CCTV footage.
The purse is described as being black with a zip compartment and flip-down compartment.
Anyone with information is being asked to call Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.