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Shoppers warned over purse thefts

PUBLISHED: 09:15 29 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:55 05 July 2010

CRIME reduction chiefs in Waveney have issued a warning to hoppers this week following a spate of purse thefts.

In recent months there have been 17 recorded purse snatches in Lowestoft town centre.

CRIME reduction chiefs in Waveney have issued a warning to hoppers this week following a spate of purse thefts.

In recent months there have been 17 recorded purse snatches in Lowestoft town centre.

And crime reduction officer, Bruce Granger, said: “They have been mainly in the shops and central shopping area in London Road North, however, two cases were at Asda, on Horn Hill.

“Mondays and Saturdays are the favourite days but they have also occurred on other weekdays, except Wednesdays. The majority occur between noon and 3pm.”

The Journal can today reveal that Lowestoft is one of a number of towns that have been hit, with Felixstowe having more reported cases - and travelling criminals are believed to be responsible.

“The thieves usually carry out two or three thefts close together before stopping, probably to leave the towns, before the reported thefts result in police attention,” Mr Granger said. “The thieves have mainly, but not exclusively, been targeting females above the age of 65 years.”

On the back of a successful pilot scheme, trialled in Felixstowe, a new initiative is now being used in other Suffolk towns.

“This is the use of a new style purse chain, which can easily attach to purses/wallets at one end and to shopping/handbags at the other,” Mr Granger said.

“With Christmas looming and the likelihood of extra shopping for presents, it can be anticipated there may be an increased risk of this type of crime.”

Mr Granger is aiming to raise awareness of this possibility and is advising local shoppers against carrying large amounts of cash, especially in purses in bags, and is calling on people to be aware of what is going on around them whilst shopping in busy areas.

To stress this point, police officers will be handing out free purse chains to women aged 65 years and above tomorrow > from a mobile police station in the Lowestoft town centre.

There will also be some free cycle locks for youngsters who haven't got any locks, and these will be handed out between 10am and 3pm. Advice about other security issues, such as thefts of satellite navigation systems and other valuables from vehicles and home security, will also be available tomorrow.

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