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Care worker speaks of ordeal after being dragged along by handbag thieves

A care worker was hit over the head and dragged along the floor while clinging to her handbag as she fought off four callous youths who attacked her in an alleyway.

Rebecca Alexander had left home to start a night shift as a care assistant when she was ambushed and violently attacked.

She heard footsteps behind her but carried on until she was suddenly hit over the head, causing her to fall to the floor and land on broken glass.

A group of youths then tried to take her bag but she fought back, held on to it and curled herself into a ball to protect her face.

The shocking incident happened off Birchfield Road in Arnold between 7.20pm and 7.45pm on Wednesday (4 August 2021).

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Rebecca suffered cuts, scrapes and grazes to her face, arms and legs during the incident. The attackers, who are believed to be white and aged in their early to late teens, ran off empty-handed towards Coppice Road.

The mum-of-five, who has lived in the area about 15 years, said: “When I heard the footsteps behind me I just carried on walking and thought nothing of it. Then I felt being hit to the head and I fell to the floor. They tried tugging my bag away from me but I held on to it and kept my head down.

“It all happened within the blink of an eye. While I was on the floor I just had this sickening feeling – that if I saw their faces I might have well known them.”

Following the incident a kind-hearted local couple came to help Rebecca. They gave her some wipes for her wounds, brought her a drink and kept talking to her to comfort her.

Police took her back home and an ambulance was called but thankfully, although she was pouring with blood, Rebecca didn’t need to go to hospital. She is still suffering from a swollen knee.

She said: “I’d like to thank the couple who helped me. It just shows that not everyone is bad and there are more good people than bad.

“This incident could have been a lot worse. I’m a healthy person but it could easily have happened to someone elderly.

“Looking back on it now I think I should have just let go of my bag but I think it’s really important that people remain vigilant and stay aware of their surroundings.”

One of the youths who attacked Rebecca was wearing a dark grey hoodie and two of the others were wearing black hoodies and had dark hair.

A fourth suspect was wearing dark-coloured trousers and a T-shirt. He also had dark hair.

Detective Sergeant Gary Hewson, who is leading the investigation into the attempted robbery, said: “While we would never want anyone to put themselves in harm’s way I would like to commend Rebecca for her bravery shown during this incident which must have been very distressing.

“It was fortunate she didn’t suffer more serious injuries during this cowardly attack.

“We are working hard to trace the suspects and I’m appealing to anyone who may have been in the area around the time and saw these youths immediately before or after the incident to please come forward.

“Equally anyone who has any CCTV or dash-cam footage which could help us identify them is asked to get in touch as soon as possible.

“Incidents of this nature are understandably concerning for local communities. We treat all reports of robbery seriously and we have upped police patrols in the area to provide reassurance while we continue to progress with our investigation.”

The latest national statistics show that robberies in Nottinghamshire plummeted by 36 per cent in the year  to April 2021, marking a sustained drop which started well before the impact of the pandemic.

Offences of violence with injury also fell by 25 per cent as officers continued with a raft of proactive initiatives in pursuing those who cause communities most harm and preventing offences.

The force’s designated robbery teams, meanwhile, have also overseen a rise in detection rates of more than ten percent – meaning more criminals are being arrested and charged.

Anyone with any information about the attempted robbery is urged to call Nottinghamshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 653 of 4 August 2021, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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