PENSIONERS Howard and Myra Rayner were expecting help when they went to a police station to hand in a lost purse.
But they were shocked when they had to speak through an intercom and were then told there was no-one there to help them.
The couple were told Waterlooville police station was closed and they would have to go to Havant police station to hand in the purse.
The couple, of Winkfield Row, Horndean, found the purse in the car park at Wellington Retail Park, Waterlooville and walked to the nearby police station.
Mr Rayner, 80, who was in the Royal Navy for 24 years, said: ‘We thought somebody might have got out of their car and dropped it.
‘We thought we would go to the police station.
‘We were always told, if you are in trouble, go and ask a policeman.
‘We said “We have found a purse, can we return it here?”
‘They said “We are not open. We are only open three days a week and there’s nobody here”.
‘They said we would have to take it to Havant.’
Mrs Rayner, also 80, said: ‘We were annoyed. They could not even come out to see us.’
Mr Rayner added: ‘Having told them what we had, I was not impressed.
‘Bring back the old days.’
The couple handed the purse into a shop at the retail park and it has now been returned to the owner.
Several front desks at police stations closed or had their hours reduced three years ago as part a bid to save £54m across Hampshire police, which has had its funding slashed by the government.
They included Cosham, Fratton, Waterlooville, Hayling Island, Park Gate, Bishop’s Waltham and Petersfield.
A statement from Hampshire police said: ‘Police station front offices are open at times we have found they are used most by members of the public. This information was gathered during a review of our front office services in 2012. Opening times are advertised on our website. The office at Waterlooville is open on a Friday and Saturday between 8am and 8pm. It is also open on a Sunday between 9am and 5pm (closed 2pm to 2.45pm).
‘When the office at Waterlooville is closed the nearest station with a front office is Havant police station. Enquiries can be taken at any time by calling 101. Usually, a property report can be taken over the phone by our Force Enquiry Centre or completing a form online and there is no need to hand the item of property in immediately.
‘It is not always appropriate for officers on patrol to take property directly from members of the public. They may not be in a position to take all the relevant details at the time.’