Police are advising shoppers in Bakewell, Matlock and Ashbourne after nine reports of purse thefts are recorded over the last four weeks.
The most recent report took place in Bakewell on Thursday, February 15.
A woman had money stolen from her handbag at around 12.50pm while she was in a shop on Water Lane.
In Matlock, an 80-year-old woman had her purse stolen from her bag while in a shop on Bank Road at around 11.20pm on Tuesday, February 13.
The most recent incident reported in Ashbourne took place at around 12.50pm on Friday, January 26. Cash was stolen from the handbag of a woman shopping on Dig Street.
Officers from Derbyshire Constabulary are appealing for anyone who may have noticed anything suspicious around the time of these incidents to contact them, and are advising shoppers to be more aware while they’re out and about.
PCSO Ian Phipps, of the Bakewell 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.”
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, pushchair 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.
PCSO Phipps added: “We are working hard with partnership agencies to ensure our towns stay safe places to shop. If you are unfortunate enough to be a victim of this type of crime though, please contact the police immediately and cancel all credit and debit cards with the relevant banks as soon as possible.
“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.”
Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious, or with information about these incidents should contact PCSO Ian Phipps on 101, or send him a message online through the Contact Us page by clicking here.
You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111