DESPICABLE – that is how police have described the theft of a pensioner’s purse as she lay unconscious at a bus stop.

The 70-year-old woman had passed out while waiting at a bus shelter, and as some passers-by came to her aid, a thief cruelly stole her purse from her bag.

The theft was not discovered until some time later, when the woman was in hospital.

By then, her credit card had been used to put £50 credit on a mobile phone, and there was also an attempt to get money from a cashpoint.

Police have released CCTV footage of two people they want to speak to in connection with the theft, which happened when the woman collapsed at the bus stop at Meeting House Lane in Ringwood.

CCTV shows a man and a woman with the shopping bag.

Both appear to be in their early to mid-20s. The man is of medium build and wearing a dark hooded top with an orange or gold motif across the front. He wore jeans and white trainers.

The woman has blonde, shoulder-length hair and is of medium build. She wore a dark jacket and carried a black and white striped umbrella.

Investigating officer PC Tom Neale said: “This is an opportunist and, frankly, despicable act. It happened at a busy bus station, and a number of people came to the woman’s aid.

“I am appealing to the person or people who carried out this crime to hand themselves in.

“Or, if anyone recognises these people, please tell the police. I also would like to speak to those people who helped the woman. They may have information that can assist the investigation”.

The woman spent several days in hospital and is now recovering from the ordeal at her Ringwood home.

Anyone with information about the incident, which happened between 1.45pm and 2.15pm on November 21, can call PC Neale at Ringwood police station on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.