A PENSIONER’S purse was stolen while she was being treated in an ambulance in Kidderminster.

The thief was chased into the town centre by a paramedic and the woman’s grandson when they realised what was happening but he managed to escape.

The incident happened at just after 2pm on Sunday in Crown Lane, the service road between Weavers Wharf and Vicar Street which runs alongside the River Stour.

A local woman in her 80s was taken ill while shopping with her grandson, who is in his 20s, and paramedics arrived to treat her in an ambulance which parked up at the side of their silver saloon car.

While the pensioner received medical attention in the back of the ambulance, with her grandson at her side, a thief reached in through a half open window of their car and stole two purses belonging to the woman.

However her grandson spotted the theft as he got back out of the ambulance and managed to grab back one of the purses. The offender fled with the other, a black wallet-type purse containing several hundred pounds.

He was chased by the grandson and one of the paramedics but they lost sight of him between the Crown building and TJ Hughes in the Bullring.

The thief was a medium to light-skinned Afro Caribbean man, between 5 feet 5 inches and 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build and wearing blue jeans and a black, hooded top which was pulled up.

The pensioner was shaken by the theft of the purse but made a full recovery after treatment and did not go to hospital.

Wyre Forest District Inspector Paul Crowley said: “It is clear from what we have been told that the thief was aware of what was going on inside the ambulance and it’s unbelievable that he took advantage of the situation.

“To steal from an elderly lady at a time when she was in such distress is truly shameful and quite despicable. We hope the public will be equally shocked at the nature of this theft and will come forward with information to help us identify the person responsible.

“The town centre was busy at the time and someone must have seen something. I would urge them or anyone else who suspects who might have done this to give us a call.”

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “It’s shocking to think that someone would take advantage of a situation like this when an elderly woman is receiving medical care from our ambulance staff. It really is the lowest of the low.”

Witnesses or anyone with information should call PC O’Brien at Kidderminster Police Station on 0300 333 3000, quoting incident reference 410-S-250410, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.