A PICKPOCKET who stole purses from two elderly women had been called ‘disgraceful’ by police.
The two victims – one aged 92 and the other 84 – were both targeted on the same day in the busy Commercial Road shopping area in Landport, Portsmouth.
The women do not know each other and police say both were left extremely distressed by their ordeal.
The women were shopping separately in the Poundland store on the day their purses were taken from their handbags.
The two crimes are now being linked by police.
The 84-year-old woman was unaware she had been targeted until she reached to get her purse from her handbag to pay for goods and realised it was missing.
It contained £80 and loose change.
Meanwhile, the 92-year-old victim had gone on to the Tesco store nearby.
When she tried to pay at the till in the Crasswell Street store the woman noticed her purse had been stolen.
It contained £10 cash, a bus pass and loyalty cards and her house keys.
Both women reported the theft to police officers in the Commercial Road area after their ordeal, which happened between 10am and 11am on Saturday.
Neither of the victims had spotted anyone acting suspiciously.
Now police are making inquiries with businesses in the area to check whether any evidence was captured on CCTV.
PC David Freeman is investigating.
He said: ‘This is a disgraceful act by a criminal without any conscience.
‘Two older, vulnerable women have been targeted for their purses in this busy area of the city.
‘We would encourage all shoppers to be vigilant and be aware of the location of your purse or wallet at all times.
‘Please contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods team on 101 for specific crime prevention advice.’
Free lanyards which can be used to attach purses to handbags in a bid to deter pickpockets are available from officers at Portsmouth Central police station in Winston Churchill Avenue.
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Freeman or PC Craig Bibby at Portsmouth Central police station on 101 quoting crime reference numbers 44120172867 and 44120172865.
Alternatively call the Crimestoppers charity’s anonymous hotline on 0800 555111.