ELDERLY people in Devizes shaken by the mugging of an 84-year-old woman, who was left with a broken pelvis in the gutter of a town centre street, have been told not to fear walking alone.

DC Jim Adams of Devizes police said teams of officers were visiting sheltered accommodation and homes for the elderly to reassure pensioners Devizes was still a safe place.

He said: "We know this nasty incident has upset a lot of people in the town but we do not want elderly people to be afraid to go out or think they can't walk alone.

"We want them to carry on their lives as normal. We hope they will be re-assured by the fact that the person we have charged with robbery is from outside of Wiltshire."

He said police still urgently need more witnesses to come forward and on Monday officers were in Snuff Street where the mugging took place a week earlier by a man on a bike who grabbed the elderly woman's handbag.

He said: "It is unusual for us to hold an anniversary initiative like this for this sort of crime but we are taking this very seriously because it was an elderly lady involved and she received a serious injury. It is not something you would expect to happen in Devizes. "

This week it emerged that rough sleeper Hayley Nutland helped arrest a man who was seen cycling off from Snuff Street after the woman's bag was snatched.

Miss Nutland, 28, who camps in woods near Devizes Cemetery, told of how she grabbed a man in his boxer shorts as he tried to escape from a house in the town as firearms officers arrived at the scene.

She said: "I have a drink and drugs problem and have done things in the past that I regret but this was a despicable thing to happen to an elderly lady.

"I had seen a bloke on a bike earlier and knew where he lived. I just grabbed hold of him and held on. He bit my finger but I wasn't going to let go.

"He was swearing at me and telling me to get off but I pushed him against the wall and told him not to fight me. I managed to keep him there until a police woman arrived. I had seen the elderly woman lying in the street crying in pain and I wasn't going to let this man get away."

She has been praised by police for the part she played in the arrest.

Police are particularly keen to speak to people who saw a man in his 30s riding a black mountain bike with distinctive blue handlebars and yellow hand grips.

A handbag belonging to the attacked woman was later found in the Kennet & Avon Canal with some possessions still inside.