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Police advice after purse dippings

Police are warning shoppers in Hertford, Ware and Bishop's Stortford to be on their guard following a series of thefts in the towns recently.

The incidents mainly involve purses being stolen from handbags and shopping trollies.

Officers have been conducting proactive patrols in a bid to reduce thefts.

Safer Neighbourhood Team Sergeant for Ware, Michael Clark said: "Whilst we are working to identify the people committing these crimes I would urge all shoppers, particularly at this busy time of the year leading up to Christmas, to be vigilant in all stores and be aware of what is going on around you. 

"The tactics deployed by these offenders include bumping into victims and gradually unzipping their bag when passing the victim a number of times. Bags left in trolleys are also being targeted.

"If possible have the strap diagonally across yourself so that you have your bag close to you at all times. When in shops please keep your handbag in sight.  It takes mere moments to become distracted enough for someone to take your purse without you noticing.

"Also if anyone has information about these crimes, or has seen someone behaving suspiciously within the store, please get in contact with us via the police non-emergency number 101."

East  Herts executive member for environment and public space Graham McAndrew said: "Offenders are preying on vulnerable people, so it's important for us to all stay aware whilst we're out shopping, follow the prevention advice from the police and report any suspicions immediately via 101.   

"Always remember to stay aware and don't be a victim."

Shoppers should also adopt the following crime prevention advice:

  • Think about putting your purse in a front pocket rather than in an open bag.
  • Attaching a bell to your wallet or phone can make a real difference and help keep your valuables secure.
  • Use a handbag that can be closed properly so that it is more difficult for someone to open it and reach in.
  • Keep your handbag in front of you so you can see it at all times.
  • If you do keep your purse in a shopping bag, put your purse at the bottom and not near the top and use a shopping bag that can be closed.
  • Don't keep pin numbers for your cards in your purse or wallet.
  • Be as secure with your mobile phone as you would your purse or wallet and ensure it is put away safely if you use it in the street.
  • Be aware of the people immediately around you.


October 26 2017