Warning to be vigilant after purses stolen from shoppers in charity stores

Shoppers are being urged to be on their guard.

Shoppers are being urged to be on their guard.

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Shoppers are being urged to be on their guard after a string of thefts from handbags.

Thieves are mainly targeting people while they’re shopping at charity stores.

Purses have been snatched from handbags and shopping trollies.

Most recently thefts happened at the British Red Cross shop in High Street, Berkhamsted on Monday, November 23 between 1pm and 2pm, at the Hospice of St Francis shop in Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead on teh same day between 12.30pm and 2.30pm and the Salvation Army shop in Waterhouse Street, on Thursday, November 26 between 1pm and 1.30pm.

Officers have been conducting patrols in a bid to reduce thefts and have been handing out crime prevention advice to shoppers.

Neighbourhood Inspector for Dacorum, George Holland said: “Whilst we are working to identify the people committing these crimes I would urge people, particularly at this busy time of the year leading up to Christmas, to be vigilant. I’d ask people to keep their purse safely in their handbag, which should be zipped or fastened at all times.

“If possible have the strap diagonally across yourself so that you have your bag close to you at all times. When in shops please do not place your handbag out of sight. It takes mere moments to become distracted enough for someone to take your purse without you noticing.”

The following crime prevention advice has been issued:

>Think about putting your purse in a front pocket rather than in an open bag. >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 you 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.