DETECTIVES are appealing for witnesses after a mugger produced a knife and threatened a woman before fleeing with her purse.

A police spokesman said the incident happened in Warren Street, Peterlee, at about 9.20pm last night (Thursday, February 7).

The 53-year-old victim was making her way home after finishing work at a local supermarket when she was confronted.

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The man produced a knife and forced her to hand over her purse, which contained a small amount of cash after threatening her one last time.

The victim was left physically unhurt but shaken and distressed.

The suspect has been described as 25-35 years old, and between 5ft 10in to 6ft tall and of stocky build with a round face and tattoos on his left arm. He was wearing a dark bomber-type jacket.

Anyone with information should contact Peterlee CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.