Grandma gives thieves a run for their money

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 16 2008 04:11 AM | Updated as of Oct 16 2008 01:12 PM

LONDON - British youths who tried to snatch a grandmother's purse got the fright of their lives when she turned out to be a former cross-country champion and chased after them, reports said Wednesday.

Janet Lane, 68, was waiting for a friend on a park bench in Torquay, in the southwestern English county of Devon, when one of three young men grabbed her bag containing her pension payment in cash, the newspaper reports said.

"I think those boys saw a little old lady and thought I was easy pickings, but there was no way I was going to sit there and let them get away with it," she said.

"Without thinking I jumped up and ran after them as fast as I could. I was screaming at them too. I felt outraged."

She followed them to the grounds of a nearby hotel and caught one of them by the collar.

"He was so afraid he dropped my bag but then managed to wriggle free," said Lane, who was a junior athlete for her county in the 1950s.

The retired nurse, who keeps herself in shape by swimming and walking, reportedly added: "I was delighted to get it back. I haven't run like that since I was a girl. It must have been a bit of a sight."

Police said they were investigating the incident but recommended members of the public do not follow Lane's example.