Pickpockets stole £400 from an 88-year-old woman who was out celebrating her birthday in Eltham leaving her 'distraught' and 'vulnerable'.

The elderly woman was shopping in Eltham High Street on Thursday, October 27 when her purse was stolen.

The Eltham community have come together to raise funds and replace the stolen money.

A spokeswoman for Eltham Police said: "Whilst browsing in the busy shop she took her shopping list out of her purse and then placed her purse back in to her handbag.

"By the time she came to pay she realised her purse had been stolen. It contained £400 which she had been saving all year to put towards Christmas presents for her family.

"She was distraught by the theft and felt very alone and vulnerable.

"She wishes to remain anonymous and hasn’t even told her family."

The police also issued a statement reminding shoppers to keep their valubles safe.

A spokeswoman said: "In the lead up to Christmas the High Street will be getting busy.

"Please be vigilant and keep your personal belongings secure.

"Try not to bring large amounts of cash with you and remember to cover your pin when you use a cash point."