A SNEAK thief targeted an 87-year-old at a supermarket car park - offering to help with her shopping - before stealing her purse and using her cash card.

Anthony Smith has been given a nine-month drug rehabilitation order by Burnley magistrates for the incident in Barnoldswick on October 2.

But the family of victim Eileen Greenhalgh have expressed their frustration with the punishment for the 30-year-old, who lives in the town's Bank Street.

Smith admitted to stealing the purse and later using a stolen bank card to obtain £90 from the Co-op, Ladbrokes and Barclays, on the same day. He was also fined £50, with £50 compensation and £85 court costs.

Police say Smith initially offered to help his victim load up her car with shopping bags but later confessed to kicking her purse under the vehicle.

Once she had drove off, they confirmed, he picked it up and used the 'cash back' facilities at three nearby premises.

But commenting on social media later Sarah Brown, the victim's grand-daughter, said her family were "disappointed" with the court outcome.

She added: "What this guy didn't know is that he robbed a lady with nerves of steel and a heart of gold.

"She was very shaken but believes the best in people and has already continued shopping independently.

"The police and staff at the Co-op really looked after her

" If we were all more like this incredible lady, the world would be a better place."

A spokesman for West Craven Police, who also thanked staff at the three stores, said: "We are committed to keeping members of our community safe especially vulnerable people."