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Newark grandmother, 73, speaks of her handbag robbery trauma and lack of Nottinghamshire Police response


By Abigail Hunt


A grandmother who suffered a fractured pelvis and broken hips in a mugging was told by police there were no officers to respond to the 999 calls and was, instead, issued a crime number.

Lynda Smithers, 73, of Newark, was thrown to the ground by a robber on a bike who wrenched her handbag from her arm.

Nottinghamshire Police apologised through the Advertiser for any distress caused for not attending, but Mrs Smithers said they did not take the call seriously.

Lynda Smithers, 73, speaks of robbery trauma and lack of police response.
Lynda Smithers, 73, speaks of robbery trauma and lack of police response.

Officers also apologised to Mrs Smithers in person when taking her statement in hospital nearly 24 hours after she was robbed.

“It all happened so fast,” Mrs Smithers said of the incident, which happened at about 7.30pm on Sunday on Lovers’ Lane.

A youth, wearing a white hoodie, rode up on a bike and grabbed her bag.

Lynda Smithers, 73, speaks of robbery trauma and lack of police response.
Lynda Smithers, 73, speaks of robbery trauma and lack of police response.

Not really grasping what was happening, she grappled back before falling backwards, breaking her hips and her pelvis in two places as the mugger rode away with her bag that contained just £18 in cash, bank card and her phone.

Mrs Smithers has a badly bruised wrist where the robber, who rode off towards Northgate Station, stripped her bag from her arm. She faces a stay in hospital and then months of recovery time.

From her hospital bed, she said she would never go out alone again at that time of evening.

“Robbers just do it ­— you just don’t have a chance,” she said.

Lovers Lane, the site of a mugging incident. 061119TV1-2. (21001420)
Lovers Lane, the site of a mugging incident. 061119TV1-2. (21001420)

Mrs Smithers’ friend twice rang 999 but was informed each time there were no police to send.

A woman in a car came to her aid and drove Mrs Smithers to a family member’s home, where she waited for an ambulance.

In a first apology, Nottinghamshire Police described the incident as theft. However, after that was queried by the Advertiser, the incident was reclassified as a robbery with violence.

Lynda Smithers, 73, speaks of robbery trauma and lack of police response.
Lynda Smithers, 73, speaks of robbery trauma and lack of police response.

Roxana Smithers, Mrs Smithers’ daughter, said police had taken her mother’s jacket and bag for DNA testing, but should have done more at the time.

She said the police had wrongly determined the 999 call as a theft.

“I feel really upset but really angry as well,” said Roxana. “I wonder how it will now affect her. It will knock her confidence and she will have to keep walking past where it happened.”

Her granddaughter, Jenna Gough, said: “The police did not even attempt to make her feel safe and that is simply not good enough.

“It is perhaps not the first time they have done this and there are more victims across Newark, who are also potentially vulnerable and being ignored or fobbed off by the police.

“As taxpayers, I am sure people will be appalled by the work of the police.

“I do feel that others need to be warned about this crime and have the right to know the lack of efforts of their local police.”

Sergeant Mike Taylor, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Unfortunately officers were unable to visit the victim at the time of the incident and will be seeing her this afternoon (Monday).

“We apologise for any distress this may have caused the family.

“I have reclassified it as a robbery at the moment based on the brief details on the incident log.”

The man who took the bag was described as white, in his 20s, 6ft tall, skinny, and was wearing a dark jacket and white hooded top.

Anyone who witnessed the incident, or has CCTV or dash-cam footage in the area, should call Nottinghamshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 805 of November 3.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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