An elderly woman's kind gesture backfired when the young man she was giving $2 to grabbed her wallet and took off.

Betty Codlin, 92, was walking home from Hastings Countdown, just before lunchtime on Friday, when a "scumbag" approached her asking for petrol money.

"He just asked if I had any money and that he wanted $2 towards petrol. Of course I knew I had $2 in my purse. Like a fool, I opened it up in front of him. There was $100 in there and he could see the note sticking out and he just grabbed it," Mrs Codlin said.

At first, she didn't notice her wallet was gone.

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Betty Codlin's hand was bruised during her encounter with the
Betty Codlin's hand was bruised during her encounter with the "scumbag".

"I suddenly realised my hand was sore, it was all bruised. Next thing, my wallet was gone and he was running."

Mrs Codlin, who uses a walker to aid her while out, said she believed the perpetrator was in his teens and was wearing a "bluey, white jacket with a hood attached to it".

"He seemed like a very pleasant young man who was well-spoken."

At the time of the incident, not a single car was around, nor was anybody nearby.

The attack has left her fearful.

She is now "wary" about walking on the street by herself.

"The awful part about it is the nervousness of it all because I am on my own."

She couldn't believe what had happened to her and thought he had done it before, as he knew what he was doing.

The Hastings woman frequently gives money to those in need, but said this incident has made her think twice about doing so.

Mrs Codlin just wants her wallet to be returned, with all the cards intact, and is hopeful the police will catch the man, as cameras in the area most likely would have caught his face.

"I was keeping the $100 for the mower man and gardener and a couple of other bills. I wouldn't have cared if he had taken the money and just left the wallet somewhere, because it has my eftpos card and everything in it. He has left me with only my chequebook and you can't go to many shops and spend a chequebook."

She said she was overwhelmed with all the support she had received.

"It is marvellous what people will do to help. The people at my church are absolutely wonderful," she said.

"I have had a lot of tragedy in my life. I've just got to stick up for myself."