CRUEL thieves preyed on an elderly woman as she was returning home from the shops – then stole her cash.
The man and a woman pursued the grandmother from Holmeside, Sunderland, to her home in the city’s Chester Road area on Thursday.
They had befriended the pensioner, who is in her late 70s, before boarding a bus with her between 5pm and 5.45pm
When the woman got off the bus near Sunderland University in Chester Road, so did the couple.
They followed her to her home in The Retreat, where they stole a purse containing cash, from her shopping trolley.
The man, who is described as aged 35 to 40, was wearing a deerstalker hat and a scarf covering his mouth.
The woman is also aged between 35 and 40, with dark hair and a heavy build.
“This is a despicable offence committed by two people against an elderly and vulnerable woman under the pretence of offering her help to get home,” neighbourhood Inspector Dave Pickett said.
“We are doing all we can to find those responsible and would ask anyone who saw the woman with these two people or who may know who they are to contact us.
“While not everyone who offers help in this way are criminals, I would ask people to be extra cautious, particularly if the help offered involves taking them to their home address. Under no circumstances should anyone let someone they don’t know into their home.
“If anyone sees someone elderly or vulnerable being given assistance by younger people, which arouses suspicion, they should contact police.”
Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference number 881 14/11/13, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Crime prevention advice is available at www.northumbria.police.uk