Former mayor of Nelson warns people to take care at cash points

Janet Smith
Janet Smith

THE Last Mayor of Nelson - former councillor Miss Janet Smith - has warned people to take care at mini-banks after she had £100 grabbed from her by two young women.

Miss Smith (83), of Railway Street, Nelson, was the Borough of Nelson Mayor almost 40 years ago and later served on Pendle Council.

She went to collect cash for her niece’s twin daughters’ birthdays and the money was snatched by the offenders as it came out.

So Miss Smith is warning people to be aware that they could be a risk as they get money from the cash point.

She was at Lloyds TSB in Manchester Road, Nelson, at around 2 p.m. on Saturday. She explained: “As I was getting the money out, these two girls approached me from either side. One pushed a magazine in front of me.

“I said: ‘Go away!’ - I thought they were begging.”

But one of the criminals repeatedly pushed the magazine in front of Miss Smith. “As the money came out, the other woman grabbed it and they ran off,” she said.

They went in the Brierfield direction but then turned towards the bus/rail interchange. They crossed the railway line and climbed over a wall and on to the roof of a car wash centre and escaped. Miss Smith said: “I chased them and a man I told what had happened joined me. Then another man joined us.

“The police were called and six police cars were driving round looking for them. The police were very good and very thorough. They talked to everyone who saw them and looked at CCTV.”

She added: “I was unhurt - the two teenagers didn’t touch me at all. “ But they did escape with her £100 cash aimed for her niece’s twin daughters, who were just reaching 21.

Miss Smith said the feeling was the two offenders appeared to be of Romanian extraction. They had foreign accents. They appeared to be late teens and were wearing headscarves. They were identified on CCTV footage within the bus/rail interchange but have not yet been arrested.

Miss Smith served on Nelson Council and Pendle Council for 17 years in each case, and was a teacher at Marsden County Infant School in Nelson. She was the final mayor of the town, serving in 1973/74.

The police confirmed they were still investigating the crime and were trying to track down the criminals, but are pretty confident they will make an arrest shortly.