A woman has described how a gang of teenage muggers glued an empty mango chutney jar to her hand.

Wendy Thornton moved towns earlier this year because she felt her home town was becoming unsafe.

But less than three months after her move to Eastbourne, Miss Thornton, 51, was attacked by three teenage boys on bicycles.

She said: "I was walking past the bus stop in my road when I heard voices behind me.

"I moved aside to let them pass me and this one boy on a bike rode in front of me and stopped.

"Two others appeared and one of them got off his bike and said he wanted my mobile."

Miss Thornton, of Pembury Road, Eastbourne, refused to hand over her phone or handbag.

She said: "I thought he was going to punch me in the face so I just gritted my teeth. I put my hand up to my face because I could see something in his hand. I thought he had burnt me with a cigarette because I felt my hand burning. I kicked out at him."

Miss Thornton, who has suffered from epilepsy for more than 20 years, made her way back to her house and phoned for police and an ambulance.

Hospital staff bathed her hand for almost three hours before the glass jar, which contained traces of mango chutney, could be removed.

Miss Thornton, who is unable to work because of her illness, said: "If I had got a smack on the head with that jam jar I could have been in serious trouble. I may have had a fit in the street and I don't know what would have happened.

"Those boys were going to have a go at somebody that night and they intended to get someone. I was the first mug they came across."

She has suffered four epileptic seizures since the attack on Monday and still has traces of glue and paper on her palm.

Miss Thornton moved from Hastings to Eastbourne in January because she felt the town was becoming unsafe.

She said: "I was quite shaken and angry. If I could see them, I would tell them to find something better to do with their lives."

Police were investigating the incident and anyone who saw anything is asked to contact Eastbourne police on 0845 6070999.