Community rallies round mugging victim Jean Hines, 80, after £250 theft in Barwell
An 80-year-old widow who lost £250 Christmas money when a thief snatched her bag has been overwhelmed by donations from friends, family and strangers.
Jean Hines was targeted shortly after she had withdrawn the pension money and savings to pay for Christmas presents for her friends and family.
A thief sneaked up behind her as she returned from a shopping trip, grabbed the shoulder bag and ran away.
In the days following the theft near her home in Barwell, friends and well-wishers who heard of her ordeal have been dropping gifts of cash and cards through her letterbox.
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She said people's reaction to her plight is helping to raise her spirits.
"It's just unfortunate the person who did this to me lives in the same world as these good people. I would call him scum.
"People like him only pick on people they think are vulnerable.
"My family have been lovely, but so have my friends and neighbours. I'm very lucky to have them."
Jean was attacked in Moore Road, Barwell, between 10.45am and 11.15am on Monday and she tried to chase after the robber.
"I can't believe how daft a woman I can be," she said. "I didn't know I had it in me – I get out of breath just walking up Castle Street (in nearby Hinckley).
"I chased him for as long as I could, but he was obviously much quicker than me."
She said yesterday that the most precious item in her purse was a memorial card from her husband's funeral three-and-a-half years ago.
She and her husband, Trevor, were well known in the village because they ran its youth club for a number of years in the 1970s.
She said: "I had always kept it with me. You can't put a price on something like that and I'm very upset it has gone.
"I was hoping my bag would be found somewhere nearby and that the card would still be inside but, unfortunately, it hasn't turned up yet.
"It's one of those little private things and losing it is worse than losing any money."
She said she was still having flashbacks and has not been sleeping well since the robbery.
"I don't want to frighten older people, but they need to know that this kind of thing can happen," she said. "When my husband and I ran the youth club we met so many lovely young people. People shouldn't think young people are bad because of the actions of one of them."
Jean's daughter, Carol Reynoldson, said her colleagues at work had bought her mum a bunch of flowers and organised a collection.
Carol said: "It has really knocked her confidence – that's the main thing that's upset us as a family. My mum is well-known in the village and people have been very good to her over the past few days, posting messages and even some money through her letterbox.
"She is a lovely, strong lady and I know she will get over this because she won't want to let him win."
Police have appealed for witnesses to the robbery to come forward.
The suspect is described as being in his late teens or early 20s, of slim build, medium height and was wearing dark clothing with a dark woolly hat.
Contact Pc Katie Harris on 101 or Crimestoppers, which is anonymous, on 0800 555 111.