A WOMAN was punched in the face before her handbag was stolen by a man in Woodley.

Police are appealing for witnesses following the robbery, which took place at around 10.45am on Wednesday, December 16.

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The victim, a 50-year-old woman, was walking along a footpath in Beggars Hill Road, close to the junction of Perimeter Road, when she was approached by a man who asked her for a cigarette.

The woman told him she didn't have one, before the offender punched her in the face and stole her handbag. He ran off in the direction of Mohawk Way.

The victim sustained swelling and bruising to her face but did not require hospital treatment.

The offender is described as a white man, approximately 5ft 7ins tall, aged in his twenties and of medium build.

He was wearing a black balaclava, black gloves, a black puffer jacket and a black hooded top with a large pocket across the middle, black tracksuit bottoms and black trainers.

He had his hood up with the drawstring pulled tight around his face and spoke with a local accent.

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Investigating officer PC Emily Aldrigde, based at Loddon Valley police station, said: “I am appealing to anyone who has any information or saw something unusual at the time of the incident to come forward.

“You can contact us using our online form or by calling 101, quoting reference number 43200425923. Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously via their website or on 0800 555 111.”