‘CALLOUS’ thieves are being hunted by police after they targeted an 84-year-old woman for her savings.
The vulnerable pensioner had used the cash machine inside Barclays Bank, Manchester Road, Nelson, when she was spotted as a potential victim, police said.
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Officers said the thieves, thought to be a man and a woman, pretended to stand in the queue for the cashier so they could observed the pensioner entering her PIN number into the machine.
The duo then followed the pensioner to Age UK on Market Street where she realised that her purse had been stolen.
Officers said just moments later the man is thought to have gone back into the bank and used the card to withdraw around £700 in cash.
CCTV images of a man and a woman police would like speak to in connection with the theft have now been released.
Community leaders described the theft as ‘a very sad state of affairs’.
Cllr Sajid Ali, who sits on Nelson Town Council, said the community must support elderly residents so they feel safe in the town.
He said: “The crime figures across Burnley and Pendle are not brilliant at the moment and across the country there are lots of opportunistic people preying on the vulnerable.
“It is a very sad state of affairs.
“The community, council and police have got to work together to raise more awareness so we can minimise such incidents.
“The town is monitored so hopefully they will catch these people and the system will deal with them accordingly.
“This will have a major effect on this lady. It is not just the money. It is their confidence.
“it will be setback for her and I hope this lady is supported.
“The community is here for her. We want people to be able to shop without feeling uncomfortable and at risk.”
The incident took place between 12.30pm and 1pm on Tuesday, March 7.
Police said the theft could have happened in the bank or the Age UK shop.
The victim was left shaken but not hurt.
PC Leah Crabtree of Nelson Police said: “This was a callous theft from an elderly victim and we are keen to speak to the man and woman pictured in the CCTV images in connection with our enquiries.
“If anyone recognises them or has any information that could help to identify them I would urge them to get in touch.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting log 549 of March 7.