A mother-of-three told yesterday how she fought off teenage muggers who dragged her along a busy road twice in an attempt to steal her handbag.

Janet Lingard, 46, was attacked by the two youths on Saturday afternoon, as she walked along Cargo Fleet Lane, Middlesbrough.

"The first time, they came at the side of me and grabbed my bag and I got knocked down," she said.

"There were two of them on one bike."

Mrs Lingard clung to her bag as she was dragged along the pavement until the youths, aged between 16 and 18, let go and pedalled off.

"Nobody stopped. I actually thought to myself 'there's a lot of people about' but not one of them helped me."

Minutes later, after Mrs Lingard had got back on her feet, the youths returned and grabbed her bag again, this time attempting to drag her into a nearby alleyway.

"I didn't have time to be frightened," she said. "I was just determined they weren't going to get that bag. I was screaming."

The youths stole her mobile phone, but she managed to keep hold of her bag until they fled.

"A car actually stopped then and a woman got out and helped me and called the police," said Mrs Lingard.

"The youths just got away and I didn't get a good look at them. I still feel really angry. They are just scum."

Mrs Lingard was left with cuts and bruises and a suspected broken jaw.

PC Nigel Home, of Middlesbrough Police, said that she had been extremely brave. "Luckily for her, she was not severely hurt," he said.

"The incidents happened on a busy main road in daylight and I urge witnesses to come forward."

Anyone with information is asked to call PC Home on (01642) 303126.