A PENSIONER was left shaken after a thief stole hundreds of pounds from her minutes after she had withdrawnit from the bank.

The 79-year-old walked about 100 metres from Santander, on Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland, to the Rio Bar Cafe, on Tenters Street, when was approached by a woman who helped her through the door and then followed her inside.

The stranger stood near her inside the café and when the victim reached for her purse, she felt a tug on her bag.

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The unknown woman then left and it was shortly afterwards when the pensioner sat down at a table she noticed the envelope containing the cash had gone.

Cafe staff said the woman stood very close to her victim, appeared to look at the menu, then left very quickly.

The suspect is described as 30 to 40-years-old, white but with a dark complexion and short dark hair. She was wearing a dark jacket.

The incident happened at about 11.30am on Tuesday, February 26.

PC Sam Stevens, of Durham Police, said: “The victim was left in a very bad state when she realised what had happened.

"We are hoping there may be other customers who might have seen this incident, even if they didn't realise at the time what was happening.”

Witnesses should call PC Stevens on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.

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