“I MIGHT be old, but I am still quick.”
Those were the words of plucky 92-year-old Eileen after flooring a thief with her mobility scooter when he tried to steal her pair of trousers.
Eileen, of Haydon Wick, and friend of 10 years Margaret, 75, had been sauntering back from the Emmanuel Church lunch club shortly after 1pm last Thursday when they spotted a man peering through a wire fence by a sheltered housing block.
The pair, who did not wish to be fully identified, said he had an evil look about him and he did not move until they trundled past the scene, between James Wilks House and Fessey House.
But after eyeing up the contents of Margaret’s basket, he grabbed Eileen by the arm, pulling her back and reaching for her carrier bag.
Unbeknown to the hapless thief, Eileen had used all her spending money at the lunch club, and all the bag contained was a second-hand pair of trousers a friend had given her.
“Imagine the shock if he had taken a bag of mine and all he got was a pair of old trousers,” she said.
“I only took out the money I was going to spend at the lunch club, so I had no money on me at the time, maybe he thought I did. Still, I do not see why they should be able to rob us.”
After the thief reached for her bag the first time, Eileen shouted “Oh, no you don’t,” and slammed on the accelerator.
“I had slowed up because it looked like something was going to happen,” she said.
“He just looked evil, with dark, piercing eyes,” she said.
“He came from over my shoulder, caught my arm and pulled me back. When he came round the second time, I slammed down on the speed so the scooter went up on to the grass, and when the back end came round it knocked him down.
“He lay there for a moment and then made a quick exit. I have never seen him round here before, and I felt a bit panicky because we did not like the look of him.”
Eileen was left with bruising along her right arm, but it was nothing a cup of tea couldn’t fix.
“You just don’t think this would happen to you on your way home from lunch club,” she said.
“We always go together, and It’s a good thing we did, otherwise it would have been much easier for him.
“I might be old but I’m still quick. I think the way I shouted probably frightened him.
“The next day I was very shaken. We were lucky, because he could have hit us – if he had been able to catch us.”
Margaret said: she didn’t know what had happened until she heard her friend yell and turned round to see the man sprawled over the grass.
“He had a white baseball cap on his head back to front, which isn’t the right way to wear it, and black eyes,”
“Our advice is don’t put your handbag in the front basket of your scooter. We put ours in the back now, because as soon as they see something, they will go for it.
“If he had got my bag he would have got everything, because all my bank cards were in my purse.
“We were both very shaken up by it, but we can laugh about it now.
“After, I took Eileen back to my flat, called the police, and made a cup of tea to calm down.”
Police are appealing for any witnesses to the incident, which happened at 1.15pm, to contact them on 101.