Witnesses are being sought after a "stocky white male" snatched a woman's handbag after getting into her house in Sunderland.
The victim was unhurt but shaken after the incident on Saturday at around 4.45pm in Humbledon,
A man called at a property in Hipsburn Drive and told the occupant her fence was damaged. After gaining entry to the house, the man stole a handbag and pushed the occupant over to escape when challenged.
The offender has been described as a stocky white male, who made off in a waiting motor vehicle - a dark coloured saloon car.
Officers are carrying out inquiries into the incident and are keen for any witnesses to come forward, while additional officers have been in the area reassuring local residents.
Detective Inspector Paul Stewart said: "This man has targeted an elderly lady, told her fence was damaged and as she was distracted pushed her before stealing her handbag and making off.
"Luckily the woman was not injured by the man pushing her, had she fallen though it could've been a lot worse.
"We're doing everything we can to find whoever is responsible and I would urge anyone who may have any information to come forward and speak to us."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 911 211115.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.