POLICE in Wigan are hunting a cyclist who is believed to be responsible for two robberies in the space of just three days.
In both instances, a woman on a bicycle tried to rob two teenage girls and steal their mobile phones. However, she was only successful on one occasion.
Officers in Wigan believe the same woman was responsible for both incidents given the modus operandi and description of the offender, and are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
The first robbery on a 17-year-old girl took place on Wigan Road in Standish at around 2pm on Wednesday, January 15.
The young girl noticed a woman on a bike talking to a man outside the Boars Head pub and when she reached the junction with Coniston Park Drive, this woman pushed her from behind and snatched her mobile phone - a white Iphone4 - before cycling away. The teenager briefly gave chase but the offender got away.
It is believed the woman rode through Gidlow Cemetery, as a man in a white van stopped to check on the victim and told her she had seen the offender riding through the cemetery. Police are keen to speak to this man and the man stood outside the Boars Head who was speaking to the offender moments before the robbery.
He is described as being white, in his 30s, of a slim build, bald and clean shaven.
The second teenager, who was also 17, was almost robbed on Preston Road, Standish, Wigan, at about 7.30am on Saturday, January 18.
It happened at the junction with Kenyon Road which leads to Standish High School when the young girl was texting on her mobile phone - an Iphone 5.
The offender cycled out of Kenyon Road and tried to snatch the phone out of the young girl’s hands but failed.
In both instances, the victims have described the offender as being white, in her 30s, of a small to medium build, with long brown hair. On the first occasion she was said to be wearing a black beanie hat, a black and white top and blue jeans. On the second, she was wearing a large black coat, black leggings and a black cycling helmet with a red circular stripe.
The bike was believed to be a pink and silver mountain bike.
Police are now appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
Detective Constable Kevin Telford said: “Thankfully, neither young girl suffered any physical injuries although they were badly shaken up and distressed following their ordeal.
“Given the very similar nature of each crime and the descriptions we have been given, we believe the same woman was responsible for both incidents, so it is entirely possible she will try and strike again.
“That is why it is important we both appeal to anyone who has information about either incident to come forward, and warn people about the dangers of using their mobile phone in plain sight.
“Sadly, there will always be opportunistic thieves who try and target mobile phone users. When you are walking and using their mobile phone, you can be distracted and lose sense of your surroundings, which makes victims potentially easy prey for these sorts of thieves.
“We would therefore ask people not to use their mobile phone unless in a safe location and not give these thieves a chance.
“If you do have any information about these incidents, then please call us.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.