UPDATE: Fourth robbery in major manhunt for attacker ’targeting lone women’ in Portsmouth

Police are warning residents to be vigilant after a series of thefts.

Police are warning residents to be vigilant after a series of thefts.

Fox and Sons

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A FOURTH woman has been attacked in as many days as police say a robber is targeting women walking alone.

Police said an 81-year-old woman was pushed over and had her shopping bag and purse stolen in Outram Road, Southsea, at 11.15am today.

It comes after attacks on a 79-year-old on January 10, a 39-year-old woman two days before and a 63-year-old woman yesterday.

Women in the streets where the incidents took place have today spoken of their fears.

Agness Ivana, 25, of Boulton Road, said: ‘It’s not the safest street. You have to be conscious and look around you.

‘I don’t walk on my own and I take certain precautions.

‘If I go for a run in the evening it makes me concerned.’

University of Portsmouth student Alexandra Piper said: ‘That’s very concerning to me.

‘I wouldn’t want any of my friends to be attacked.’

The attack yesterday afternoon saw the 63-year-old woman grabbed in a robbery in Boulton Road, Southsea, at around 5pm.

She was punched to the side of the face and fell to the ground.

The attacker then kicked her while she was on the ground and tried to steal her handbag but she kept hold of it.

She suffered swelling and bruising to her face and was shaken. The man fled.

As reported, a 79-year-old woman was approached outside a flat on Victoria Road North, Southsea, at 3.45pm on January 10.

The man then grabbed the woman’s handbag, which contained bank cards, cash, and a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone - and assaulted her, before leaving the scene on foot. She suffered minor injuries when he attacked her.

He may have been joined by a second man as he walked away, police said.

In the earliest incident reported to police on January 8, a 39-year-old woman was grabbed from behind in Campbell Road, Southsea, at around 2.30pm.

Her bag was pulled so forcefully that the woman fell over and the handbag strap broke.

The man ran off towards the junction of Lawrence Road, heading in the direction of Fawcett Road. The man thenreappeared and walked towards her.

The victim crossed the road and saw the suspect walking to Lorne Road.

Police have linked all four incidents as they flood the area with police today.

Inspector Marcus Cator said: ‘We are taking these recent incidents extremely seriously.

‘Our concern is that somebody is intent on targeting lone women.

‘We do have a strategy in place to identify the suspect.

‘We’re carrying out house to house and CCTV inquiries and have put extra police patrols in place.

‘Our advice to women is to remain vigilant, be alert, not alarmed and call police with any help.’

Police have linked the incidents due to the description of the attacker and the way the women were approached.

The force has updated the description of the suspects to:

• About 5ft 5ins and 5ft 7ins tall.

• Skinny or slim.

• Possibly has stubble or goatee style beard.

• Dark-coloured jacket and a hat or hood that has come down over his ears.

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting Operation Defend.

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