Chesterfield shoppers are urged to be cautious in the Christmas period after a spate of purse thefts in the town centre.
Police said there was rising concern over theft form shoppers after seven incidents have taken place since the middle of November, with the two most recent offences occuring on the same day.
Two thefts were reported by shoppers on Thursday, November 26, with the first in the High Street and the second in Market Place, both between 11.30am and 1.30pm.
A police spokesperson said: officers are stepping up patrols and urging people to report any suspicious activity, and will be holding a number of crime prevention events in the town centre to raise awareness of the issue and give advice to shoppers.
Sgt. Nick Booth of the Chesterfield Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “I would urge people to make it more difficult for thieves when out shopping by making sure your purse, wallet and other valuables are hidden away in a zipped bag.
“Only carry money that you need and use devices such as purse chains or bells which will make it more difficult for them to be stolen, acting as a deterrent and alerting you to anything suspicious.”
Other 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.
* 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.
Police are also continuing to appeal to trace two people, pictured on CCTV, in connection with one incident in Chesterfield on Wednesday, November 18 and another incident in Derby on Saturday, November 28.
Anyone with information should contact Derbyshire police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.