Pensioners in hospital after handbag thief strikes twice

Share this article
Have your say

A VIOLENT mugger left two pensioners in hospital in separate robberies in the space of two hours. The thug, who was described as wearing a “tammy hat” during one robbery, targeted the women, both aged 77, beside their homes to snatch their handbags.

The first victim was thrown against metal railings as she fought bravely to keep her bag, inflicting bruising which needed treatment at St John’s Hospital in Livingston. The second pensioner was hauled to the ground, fracturing her shoulder and leaving her “traumatised”, according to police.

Officers believe the same man may be responsible for both incidents which took place in Armadale in West Lothian on Sunday night, just a short distance apart.

Both victims’ handbags were discarded, and forensic specialists are carrying out tests in a bid to recover any fingerprints or DNA traces from the culprit.

The first victim had just returned to her home in St Helens Place at 6pm when the suspect pounced.

Detective Sergeant Paul Carroll said: “The lady has tried to hold on to her bag but has been pulled off balance and fell onto railings before the suspect has run off towards South Street.

“The second incident took place at around 8pm in Burns Avenue. The victim, another 77-year-old woman, was again very close to her home. She was pulled to the ground when he grabbed her bag and suffered a fractured shoulder and some muscle damage.”

Following the second attack, the man ran off along on North Street towards Armadale Cross.

In both cases, the suspect is described as white, 5ft 8in with a thin gaunt face and wearing a black jacket and grey top. In the second incident, he was described as wearing a tammy hat.

Police chiefs have ordered extra high-visibility patrols in the area in the wake of the robberies. Door-to-door inquires are being carried out in Armadale while officers are checking CCTV footage in an effort to identify the man.

DS Carroll added: “We can’t rely on it being the same person responsible so we’re keeping an open mind. We are appealing for anyone who may have seen what happened, or recognise the description of the suspect, to contact police on 0131-311 3131.”

Frank Anderson, West Lothian’s executive councillor for services for the community, said: “These are despicable attacks on two vulnerable women, which has left both needing hospital treatment.

“We would urge anyone with any information on the guilty party to contact the police immediately. ”