A STOLEN handbag has been returned to its rightful owner after a group of children found it during a community litter pick.

Nicola McHarrie and her two daughters attended the clean-up along Banana Walk, in Radcliffe.

But it was 10-year-old Tyra, nine-year-old Mya, and their nine-year-old friend Chloe Jones who spotted the plastic bag stuck in the bushes.

The three girls all know each other from St John's CE Primary School, in Radcliffe.

Mrs McHarrie said: "The girls were trying to get the bag out of the trees with their pickers but they struggled because it was heavy and would not budge.

"I went through the branches and retrieved the bag.

"I opened it up and inside there was a lady's handbag which contained lots of personal items.

"Thankfully this made it easy to identify the owner."

The bag contained a bus pass, debit cards, make-up, house keys and over-the-counter medication.

It was discovered in the undergrowth off Cemetery Road.

Mrs McHarrie informed one of the organisers who in turn reported the stolen bag to the police.

Litter pick organiser Dennis Adams said: "Well done to the team of volunteers.

"We collected at least 20 bags of rubbish. The haul included needles, canisters and a stolen handbag which has been returned to the owner."

The family took part in the Banana Walk litter pick on Saturday, January 3, after seeing a Facebook post about it.

Mrs McHarrie said: "I like getting involved with community events and involving the children because it also shows them the effects of dropping litter.

"I'm delighted the bag has been returned but it would be good if it led to a conviction."