Police are reminding shoppers to be alert following a number of recent bag and purse thefts in the Chesterfield area.
Local officers are stepping up their patrols and holding events to help people stay safe.
There have been eight reports since the start of December, with the most recent taking place at the Tesco store, on Lockoford Lane on Thursday 16 December.
A woman had her purse, containing cards and cash, stolen from her handbag sometime between 11am and 12 noon.
Incidents were also reported at Aldi, on Lockoford Road, and on Middle Pavement in the town centre on Tuesday 14 December.
People have also been targeted on Rose Hill, Vicar Lane, Burlington Street and at the McDonalds on Low Pavement, and on Sheffield Road.
Enquiries are ongoing, and we are encouraging anyone who may notice any suspicious activity or have any information about these to contact us.
We are also advising shoppers to be more aware while they’re out and about.
PCSO Supervisor Matt Adcock of the local Safer Neighbourhood policing team, said: “I would encourage shoppers to make it more difficult for someone to access your belongings by making sure your purse, wallet and other valuables are hidden away in a zipped bag.
“We would also advise people to only carry the money that you need and to use items such as purse chains or bells which will make it more difficult for purses to be stolen, acting as a deterrent and alerting you to anything suspicious.”
He added: “Sadly, although it could happen to anyone, older people can be more vulnerable to this type of crime so please look out for friends and relatives and encourage them to be safer shoppers.”
Advice to shoppers includes:
- Keep your bag closed and close to you at all times, if possible, with the opening towards your body.
- Close your purse and put it away before you leave the till.
- Try not to overload yourself with bags and coats.
- Avoid carrying your purse or wallet in a back trouser pocket, or an outside jacket or coat pocket
- Keep cash secure and out of sight.
- Do not leave your handbag, push chair or shopping trolley unattended for any length of time.
- Always make sure that no one is looking over your shoulder before entering your PIN number at the cash machine, make sure your money is put away before leaving the machine and ensure your purse is out of reach.
- Do not write down your PIN and keep it in your wallet, purse or handbag. If you cannot remember your PIN, you can change it at your bank to a number which is easier to remember.
Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious, or with information about these incidents should contact us using the non-emergency details below:
- Facebook – send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
- Twitter – direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact
- Website – complete the online contact form www.derbyshire.police.uk/ContactUs.
- Phone – call us on 101.
You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
In an emergency, if someone’s life is in danger or a crime is in progress, the number to call is always 999.