A WAR hero has made an emotional plea for Langley residents to help collar the cowardly thief who almost knocked over his elderly wife in a drive-by snatch and grab.

Douglas Hazlewood, 85, and his wife Mary, 86, were slowly making their way from the post office in Meadfield Road amid icy conditions when a black car skidded past the couple and the driver reached out of the window and ripped the handbag from the grasp of the startled pensioner.

The callous thief, who has been described as a mixed race man thought to be in his 40s, sped off along New Road with the bag containing £40, a mobile phone and sentimental items including a picture drawn by Mrs Hazlewood's granddaughter with the message 'I love you gran'.

The great grandmother, who lives in Iver with her husband of 64 years, said: "We went into the post office to buy some stamps and were walking along the road when we saw a black car drive past.

"I'm quite doddery on my feet so I was holding onto Doug when this car brushed past me and a man pulled my bag off my arm.

"We were both shocked it had happened and thinking back I'm lucky it was not worse. The pavements were slippery and I could have quite easily have been pulled into the road. There was not much money in my purse but there were a few bits that I've kept that mean a lot to me." Mr Hazlewood, a Scots Guard who fought in Fance and germany during World War Two, has been left stunned that anyone would target two frail OAPs in broad daylight.

He said: "It is the ultimate act of cowardice, we just couldn't believe what had happened. Years ago even muggers wouldn't have attacked the elderly. I don't hold out hope of getting it back but maybe someone might have seen something. This certainly won't stop us going about our business." Investigating officer PC Martin Hegg added: "This is a despicable crime against an elderly victim." The offence took place on Monday last week (February 1) at around 11am.

Anyone with information can call police on 08458 505505.