A man is being sought by police after a female motorist was flagged down in a Hitchin layby and almost had her purse snatched.

A woman in her 40s was driving along Cambridge Road at about when she was flagged down by a man standing in a layby.

He indicated to her to wind down her window and, after she had, reached into the car in an attempt to grab her purse.

Fearing for her safety, the woman then gave the man £40 before driving off.

Following the incident, which took place at about 8.45am on Thursday, October 15, police have now issued a description of the suspect.

The man is described as white, in his early 40s, of stocky build and around 5ft 9ins tall. He had dark, short black hair worn in a side parting and spoke with a Romanian accent.

The man was wearing black trousers, a white shirt, a dark tie and a lanyard.

PC Will Parker is investigating and said: “While the incident was on-going a man pulled up in a white vehicle behind the victim’s car. At one point the man who had flagged the victim down indicated to the man in the white vehicle and it’s not clear if the two are linked or this driver could be a witness.

“I would ask this person to please contact me. I would also be keen to hear from anyone else who was in the area – or anywhere else in North Herts that morning – who may have seen a man in similar circumstances attempting to stop vehicles to please contact me.”

Anyone with information can contact PC Parker, who is based with Intervention at Hitchin Police Station, via police non-emergency number 101 quoting crime reference number G1/15/2549.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.