POLICE have released images of three men they would like to speak to in relation to the street robbery of an elderly woman who was dragged to the ground as her handbag was stolen.

The 75-year-old woman was attacked by a man in Thornton Lea, Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, at around 3.30pm on Wednesday, December 20.

Police said the men were identified from CCTV as being in the proximity of incident and could hold “vital information”.

Sergeant Mick Richardson, of the community police team, said: “This was a completely callous attack on a vulnerable woman.

“It and could have had an entirely different outcome.”

The robber ran off with the handbag through a cut onto Front Street, by the RAOB Club, and onto the Sustrans C2C track.

He added: “While the lady is fine from a physical perspective, the attack has shaken her up and she is understandably upset at what has happened.”

One of the men “of interest” was wearing blue coveralls and got off the Go North East number eight bus to Stanley, and the other was walking towards the bus stop on Front Street at the time of the incident.

Sgt Richardson said: “We would like to identify them to see if they saw anyone acting suspiciously and to establish their reason for being in area at the time so we can eliminate them from our inquiries - or ask them in for further questioning.”

Anyone with information should call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting crime reference number CRI00097058.