Bid to tackle purse thieves

POLICE in Felixstowe will be giving away 500 purse chains following several “dipping” thefts from shoppers' bags in the town centre.In the past two months, there have been more than a dozen thefts of purses in the Hamilton Road area, with those targeted being mostly aged over 65, but with some younger women also having items taken.

Richard Cornwell

POLICE in Felixstowe will be giving away 500 purse chains following several “dipping” thefts from shoppers' bags in the town centre.

In the past two months, there have been more than a dozen thefts of purses in the Hamilton Road area, with those targeted being mostly aged over 65, but with some younger women also having items taken.

Last Friday there were three reports of thefts from shoppers.

Between 2.30pm and 2.45pm a 61-year-old woman had her bag stolen from a wheelchair, a 78-year-old man had two wallets taken from his jacket pocket, and an 80-year-old woman had her purse stolen from her handbag.

Police are urging shoppers to keep a close eye on their valuables - and are telling anyone out in Felixstowe, or elsewhere, to be vigilant for any suspicious behaviour.

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Inspector Steve Gallant said: “We need all shoppers to be alert for these thieves and to call us straight away if you become suspicious of anyone.

“This could be someone standing closer to you, trying to distract you or just noticing someone who is paying an older shopper particular attention.

“If you are suspicious please call officers using 999 - we would rather check out the person you are suspicious of than have older residents be targeted in this way.”

In a bid to make the thieves lives harder police officers and police community support officers will be giving out a new batch of 500 purse chains to shoppers thought to be most vulnerable over the next few weeks.

The chains - which are around 18 inches long with hook clasps on both ends - are designed to be attached to clothing or handbag and attached to a purse, making it far more difficult for “dipping” thefts to occur without the purse owner being alerted.

Posters are also being distributed to shops in Hamilton Road to remind visitors to keep an eye on their valuables.

Are the chains a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk