TWO women tried to steal an elderly woman’s bank card after distracting her by asking for directions to Leominster, a court heard.

Ramona Hamidovic and Teresa Martinovic also asked the victim, who was in her 80s, how to get to Hereford Eye Hospital before a neighbour intervened.

The women, described as members of a gang travelling the country targetting vulnerable women, fled from Hereford’s Ledbury Road into the city centre empty-handed but were later picked up on CCTV in High Town.

Hereford Crown Court heard that the attempted theft happened on November 29 last year while 30-year-old Martinovic was on bail for a similar offence in the Black Country.

Prosecutor Stephen Davies said the pair were part of an organised group attempting similar thefts around the UK.

The elderly woman had got off a bus on Ledbury Road having travelled from St Peter’s Square in Hereford before being approached by the pair.

He said that in January last year the pair had followed a 69-year-old woman from a Nationwide Building Society branch in Dudley to a shop before Martinovic tried to remove her purse while Hamidovic acted as a lookout.

Martinovic, of Hamstead Hall Avenue, Handsworth, Birmingham, and 21-year-old Hamidovic, of Uplands Road, Handsworth, both Bosnian nationals, each admitted two charges of attempted theft.

Martinovic is a mother of three who has a history of committing similar offences, according to her barrister Daniel Oscroft. He said the offences were committed a long time ago, adding that she is under no suspicion of any further matters.

Lynette McClement, for Hamidovic, said her client has had no education and played “no physical part” in the offences.

She said Hamidovic has been shunted around to different family members since coming to live in the UK.

She now has a young son.

“Her son is her only family,” said Ms McClement. “This is a woman scarred by a hideous past.”

Martinovic was sentenced to 14 months in prison, while Hamidovic received nine months, suspended for two years.