Police are urging Bedfordshire residents to be vigilant after a number of people have visited the force’s enquiry offices to report lost or stolen purses or wallets in recent weeks.
Since the beginning of June, the force has recorded 17 incidents across Bedfordshire where a purse or wallet has been stolen. In some cases, skilled thieves distract shoppers while they browse so they can dip their hands into pockets and bags and remove the victim’s purse or wallet. By the time the victim realises, the thieves are usually long gone.
Chief Inspector Neill Waring said: “It only takes a few seconds for someone to dip their hand into an open bag and remove a purse, so it’s vital that shoppers remain wary of their surroundings when out and about and keep their belongings close.
“The force offers deterrents like purse bells, which will alert you should anyone try to take your purse or wallet. They are available from local community events and from local policing teams and PCSOs.”
Police always advise the following:
> Keep your bag or shopping trolley close to you at all times and ensure it is closed properly. If you are not carrying a bag, keep your purse or wallet in a front trouser pocket or an inside jacket pocket
> Keep your handbag zipped shut, with the purse in the bottom or in an inside pocket
> Always be discreet when handling money, for example when outside a cashpoint
> Always shield your PIN when entering it at a checkout or ATM, and be wary of anyone ‘shoulder-surfing’
> When loading shopping into the boot of a car never leave a handbag in the trolley, or on your car seat, where it can be easily snatched
Call 101 to report an incident, or 999 if a crime is in progress. You can also give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.