A FEISTY pensioner was dragged along the pavement as she battled with three muggers trying to steal her handbag.

Gran Rosemary Wetton was left with dozens of cuts and bruises to her arms and legs after she tried to fight off an attack by the gang of teenage boys.

The 67-year-old, who suffers from arthritis, had been walking home from Blackburn town centre when she felt someone behind her reach out and grab her handbag.

She said: “It all happened so fast. I heard murmuring behind me and then a sharp pull of my bag.

“Instinctively I grabbed hold of it and refused to hand it over. I know they say you should give them what they want and play dead but I have never been brought up like that.

“Even though I was scared I just kept telling myself ‘hang on to your bag’. It was like a tug of war.”

The mum-of-one had been out to collect a prescription from her doctors and caught a bus to the Boulevard in Blackburn town centre.

As the retired shop worker walked to her home in the Wensley Fold area of town at around 7.15pm on Thursday, she was targeted by the youths.

Detectives working on the case recovered Mrs Wetton’s large red handbag in an alleyway close by.

Mrs Wetton said: “I think the teenagers who stole my bag were looking for cash and things to sell. They probably wanted the money for drugs or alcohol.

“I luckily only had £15 in my purse.

“They took that but they left me with two five pence pieces.

“I was really lucky as I stupidly forgot I had left my post office card and pincode in my purse together. I think they missed that though because they were rushing and inexperienced.”

Mrs Wetton said she had been left shaken and upset by the attack.

She said: “The kind police lady asked me about how I felt about going out alone. I told her I don’t have much choice, but this has left me feeling really frightened.

“The fall has really affected my arthritis and I am now really struggling to move.

“I think if these lads are ever caught they should be sent to train with the army, it might change their lives around.

“I urge anyone who saw me or the lads to come forward as I would hate for this to happen to anyone else.

“When I think about what could of happened it makes me feel cold. It’s like poor Nellie Geraghty in Manchester, she kept on to her husbands ashes and died because of it.”

Mrs Geraghty, 79, was found on the ground clutching her torn handbag strap near to her home in Oldham, last November.

She had been carrying her husband Frank’s ashes when she was targeted by a drug addict. She later died in hospital from her injuries.

Mark Royle, 37, is now serving a 28 year prison sentence for murder.

DI Mark Vaughton, of Blackburn CID is leading the investigation. He said: “What these offenders did to this elderly lady is cowardly.

“They clearly picked on someone they thought was a vulnerable victim.

“I urge anyone who was in the Belle Vue area of Blackburn to come forward if they remember seeing three young lads running away towards Johnson Street.”

The three attackers are described as young, having local accents and were wearing dark clothing and hoodies. Police said they are not linking the crime with three other recent robberies in the town centre.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.