A woman has been charged over the theft of a handbag and purses at two high-end supermarkets.

Bernadette Christina Whelan, 48, of Dorset Road, Christchurch, has been charged with two counts of theft from the person of another.

It follows a report of a handbag and purse being stolen from Marks & Spencer in Station Road, New Milton on Monday 22 January.

Police also received a report of a purse being stolen from Waitrose in Hythe on Tuesday, 7 November last year.

Whelan has been remanded in police custody to appear at Southampton Magistrates’ Court today.