A blameless carer was publicly accused of being a thief by police when they issued her photo by mistake.
Katie-Anne Seaman, 24, was horrified to find she was wanted ‘in connection with’ the theft of £800 from a cashpoint with her picture in a local paper and on social media.
The image showed her waiting at a cash point as she withdrew money for one of the elderly ladies she looks after as part of her job.
Katie-Anne – who was legitimately taking out the cash – immediately called 101 to report the mistake and within minutes the post was taken down and later removed from local media.
But she said police have yet to apologise – leaving her fearing for her career and reputation after being falsely accused.
Katie-Anne, from Ely, Cambs., said: “I got a message from one of my friends with the picture attached to it, asking if it was me.
“To start with I thought it was a joke and that it might have been photoshopped but then I realised what had happened.
“I was actually getting money out for someone I support – not stealing it.
“I was shocked when I realised it was me in the picture. I didn’t know what to think really.
“To see it shared on my local newspaper was devastating. People might see the picture of me and judge me without knowing the truth.”
Katie-Anne, who has no criminal record, said she and her mother Vanessa Seaman have regularly called police demanding answers but have yet to get a call back.
She added: “I rang my mum in tears and she rang the police back.
“They said that they had no recollection of my call but when she spoke to someone else they said both calls had been logged and that the investigation was closed.
“I just want it finished now. It was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but all I really want is an apology.”
Katie-Anne went for an interview on the day the picture was shared but was lucky to receive a promotion with the company she’s worked for for seven months.
She added: “That messed it up a little bit, but luckily my bosses believed me and know I would never do anything like that.
“Having something like that in the newspaper with my type of job, I could have been suspended.
“I don’t think they realise how damaging this is for me.
“Elderly people and their families trust me to look after them and part of my job is getting money cash out for them as they can’t get to the cash point.”
Vanessa, 55, said: “We understand police have to do these things to help them solve crime in case people recognise the culprits involved.
“But the fact they can’t even be bothered to call her and apologise for labelling her a thief is appalling.
“If someone had recognised Katie-Anne and called the police, they could have turned up and arrested her.
“Who knows what kind of grief that could have caused her and her career.”
Cambridgeshire Police have since confirmed Katie-Anne is not involved in the theft – but it’s not the first time they have made a CCTV blunder.
Last May two teens, also from Ely, received an apology from police after CCTV images of them were circulated in connection with a theft they had nothing to do with.
A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said: “We regularly issue CCTV appeals to help officers as part of their enquiries into various crimes.
“As soon as the lady pictured identified herself to officers we removed the CCTV from social media.”