POLICE have released CCTV pictures of two men suspected of pushing over an elderly man and stealing his mobile phone.

The thieves approached the 77-year-old outside Ellesmere Shopping Centre in Walkden and asked him if he was waiting for a taxi.

The pair pushed him to the ground, assaulted him and stole his mobile phone and other items from his pocket. Officers believe the offenders had seen the victim at a bookmakers in Manchester city centre, followed him and got on the same bus to Salford.

The man suffered a cut to his hand and “extreme shock” in the mugging at 10.30pm on Sunday, June 17.

Det Con Horace Bell said: “This was a planned attack on a vulnerable elderly man, and it has badly affected him. Since the incident we have carried out a number of inquiries, including circulating these images on a police database, and we have established what we understand to be the full circumstances behind this offence.

“It appears as though he was followed on a bus from Manchester, which makes it all the more imperative to catch those responsible. I would urge anyone who recognises the young men pictured to call us.”

The thieves were described as black, one was 6ft tall and wore a dark jacket and blue jeans, his accomplice was about 5ft 5in tall, slim and wore light blue jeans. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5260 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.