Thieves steal £4k from teacher’s luggage

William Barnes
William Barnes

A WIGAN teacher has blasted thieves who stole more than £4,000 from his luggage as he flew home from Dubai.

William Barnes, of Goose Green, had boarded a QATAR plane QA 023 from Dubai to Doha, changing flights to return to Manchester on November 5, after hearing his wife, Pamela, was ill.

Because the 58-year-old was unable to transfer local currency to his bank account, he withdrew cash and it was changed into sterling, worth £4,650.

On his second leg of the journey, he realised the money had gone.

The father-of-three who is currently a maths teacher at the School of Research Science in Dubai, said: “I put four elastic bands around an envelope and put it in the middle part of my rucksack.

“On the second flight, I placed my rucksack in the overhead locker, a space shared by another woman’s bag.

“About two hours into the journey a man helped the woman get something from one of her bags, which took about 30 or 40 seconds.

“The only other person to go into the locker was an air stewardess when she was closing the lockers on take off.

“On my arrival, I discovered my money had been taken from the envelope and replaced by a ripped out flight magazine. The four elastic bands had been put back into place.”

William, who has taught at schools across the North West, as well as Jersey, and has also lived in Turkey, is now trying to seek assistance from QATAR.

The former amateur boxer said: “I e-mailed a photo of the magazine to QATAR and they confirmed that it was exclusive to QATAR flights so the theft was more likely to have been on the flight from Doha to Manchester.

“I returned to Dubai in the New Year and reported the theft to the Dubai police who now have the magazine and envelope for fingerprinting.

“Apart from the confirmation that the magazine was theirs the QATAR airline have not been of any assistance at all and do not answer the numerous e-mails İ have sent them.

“There were only two other people who went into the locker - the man who assisted a lady who had her bag in the there and the air hostess - so they have records to who these people are but are not giving me any assistance.

“Over Christmas our house was freezing as we had hardly any money for the heating.

“I could imagine my granddaughter’s face in Jersey when no presents arrived from us.

“It made my blood boil thinking that while we were suffering in the cold someone somewhere was living it up on the money I had worked two months for.”

Despite several e-mails to QATAR’s press office, the airline failed to comment.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police confirmed the offence had been reported but police in Dubai were dealing with it.