A mugger has left elderly women too terrified to leave home alone after striking 16 times on just three Sheffield streets.
The yob has carried out eight robberies and nine thefts in Firth Park – targeting women aged between 50 and 90.
Residents today said the culprit needs to be caught quickly after his crime spree started at the beginning of the year.
Police say the attacks have taken place on Sicey Avenue, Bellhouse Road and Hatfield House Lane in Firth Park.
The vile thug’s most recent attack was on Wednesday, where he knocked an 81 year old woman to the floor and robbed her in broad daylight.
Elderly residents said they were ‘living in constant fear’ of being mugged and residents branded the area ‘out of control’.
Margaret Godfrey, aged 86, of Sicey Avenue, said: “I don’t go to the bank on my own anymore. I’m terrified of being mugged.
“Staff at the bank warn that these awful people are targeting old women coming out of the bank. They have been putting permanent marker on people’s backs as they leave the bank, so others know who to rob.
“This area has been going down hill for the last year. There never used to be anything as bad as this.”
Sylvia Johnson, 72, of Sicey Avenue, said the situation needed ‘sorting fast’.
She said: “It’s very worrying for everybody – especially elderly people. It’s got a lot worse around here recently.
“I remember when you didn’t even have to lock your doors, but I wouldn’t dream of leaving anything open now.”
Rachael Briggs, 43, of Sicey Avenue, said she believed bad parenting was at the root of the issue.
She said: “I’ve got three young boys and I try to bring them up the right way. But a lot of the kids around here run wild and I’m not sure what you can do about it.
“I think a lot of what’s happening falls down to parenting. A lot of these youths aren’t scared of police – getting arrested is a badge of honour. These kids do exactly what they want and they get away with it. I don’t go out at night anymore as the area is out of control. It’s scary.”
Other residents said the situation had got so bad they had been forced to install CCTV on their properties.
Adrian Lucas, 35, of Sicey Avenue, said: “I’ve fitted security cameras around the house. Some of the kids around here are mad.”
Detective Constable Philip Dean said the investigation is ongoing and officers are trying to establish if the incidents are linked.
He said: “In each case, the descriptions given have varied. However, the consistent factors have been that the offender is male, wearing dark clothing and aged between 14 and 20. The ethnicity and height given has varied and while we still believe it may be one person, we’ve not ruled out the possibility that this is a group working together.”
At around 2pm on Wednesday, police received reports that a woman, 81, was approached from behind by an unknown man as she walked along Firth Park Avenue. The man grabbed her handbag, knocking her to the ground. He then fled the area and jumped over a wall into a nearby park.
n Anyone with information is asked to call 101.