BRAVE Rachel Wood believes robbers who beat her and stole takings and charity money from the Diggle chip shop could be local youths.
The mum-of-two also knows the popular long-serving business had been watched for several days prior to the vicious attack.
On Thursday, February 1 at around 7.40pm, an attacker wearing a dark coloured hoodie assaulted Rachel and tried to grab her black rucksack containing the cash.
Despite being punched in the face and knocked to the ground Rachel tried to hang onto the bag.
Eventually, she had to let the bag go and the offender and a male accomplice wearing a light grey/silver hoodie ran off up Spurn Lane and away from view.
Now recovering physically and mentally from the brutal robbery, Rachel, however, is quick to praise customers and the community for rallying behind her and husband Steve.
“They were definitely only young,” Rachel said of her attackers.
“For me, and my gut feeling is, I think they were local.
“They were around too much and weighing up the place not to be local.
“They knew exactly what they were doing. They were seen on CCTV on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“They walked past Steve on Tuesday. They knew what they were doing and knew who they were targeting.
“The lad that jumped me was waiting for me on Wednesday – that’s been seen on CCTV.
“It just so happened my car was parked at the front of the shop (on Huddersfield Road) or they would have got me.”
Rachel and Steve have owned their business for 10 years so the crime has shocked the close knit community.
“The locals and all my customers have been amazing,” she added. “The offers of help I have had are so touching.
“People have brought, flowers, chocolates, even vouchers. They have also made donations to Oldham Mountain
Rescue because £200 in charity money was taken in the robbery.”
Rachel is less enamoured by support from Oldham Council.
“The police advised we contact the Council to get the trees cut back above the shop and down the side because they are not helping with street lighting.
“There is also an old toilet block on Ward Lane. It’s only a three wall shell but the ‘lads’ were hiding round the back.
“So, we have asked the Council to knock it down. More than three weeks down the line nothing has been done.
“That’s disappointing when you are local and you have a business in the community. I know they are short staffed but things need to take a higher priority.
”When someone has been mugged and you are a woman on your own I’d have expected they would have been done by now.
“I can understand the delays but it’s the fact no one has been in touch to let us know where they are up to.”
Rachel says she has recovered from the initial shock but is still very nervous in the evenings.
“My mouth still hasn’t healed yet,” she said.
“I no longer have the open wound but I have booked a dental appointment because I don’t think my teeth are quite right.
“I also have a big lump where he hit me and I bit my lip.
“Hopefully, it is just scar tissue that will heal but I am watching my back all the time.”
A police spokesperson said: “This was a particularly nasty unprovoked attack on a member of our local community and we ask that if you have any information regarding this incident then please get in touch with us on 101 quoting Police log 1812 01/02/18.”