DETECTIVES have released CCTV stills of four men they want to trace after a woman's purse was taken by a thief who asked to help her carrying shopping.

The 80-year-old woman was targeted outside her home address on Charnwood Street by a group of men.

Although the woman declined the offer of the men to carry her bags, aone of them picked up her shopping and cause a distraction by asking for directions.

The incident happened on Saturday, November 4 between 3pm and 4pm.

The following day (Sunday, November 5) the victim noticed her purse was missing and, after contacting the bank to block her card, she was told that money had been spent the previous evening.

The card had been used at various locations across Manchester including at Morrison’s Chadderton, a European mini market, Tesco Failsworth, Tesco Oldham, Sainsbury’s Oldham and Asda Chadderton.

Police want to speak to the men pictured in CCTV in connection with the theft.

Inspector Vicky Holden said: “I would urge neighbours in the area to consider if they saw anything which seemed suspicious before or after the theft and to get in touch. This was a despicable offence targeting an elderly woman outside her own home, somewhere she should feel safe.

“We ask anyone who recognises the men pictured in the CCTV stills to come forward and tell us who they are. It is important that anyone who has any information in relation to the incident contacts the police so we can find those responsible and bring them to justice.

"I would also appeal to people to keep an eye on any elderly and vulnerable neighbours and family members, especially in the run up to Christmas. If you notice anyone suspicious in the area or any unfamiliar vehicles, always call the Police or contact your local neighbourhood policing team for more advice."

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting reference 0517282684 You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously and for free on 0800 555 111 or via their online form: