A Stevenage robber sprayed an unknown fluid in a woman’s face today while trying to steal her handbag – and police have now appealed for witnesses.

The crime happened at about 11am today in Durham Road, in the St Nicholas area of town.

A 29-year-old woman, walking with a friend, was approached by a man who tried to pull her handbag from her.

After failing to get hold of the bag, he sprayed what police have called ‘an unknown fluid’ in her face – then made off in the direction of Martins Way, without the bag.

The robber is described as a slim white man in his early 20s, about 6ft tall.

PC Hayden Coggins, who is investigating, said: “This happened in broad daylight at a time when there may have been people around, so we are hoping that someone may have heard the victim shouting or seen the man making off.”

The victim suffered some pain and discomfort at the time, but has since recovered.”

If you think you may have seen the incident or were in the area at the time, you should call PC Coggins on 101, quoting crime reference E1/17/3860.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through crimestoppers-uk.org.