Essex Police warning over purse thefts

PRESSURE is being turned up on purse thieves who operate in Dunmow.

Police have been prompted into pushing an initiative to aid shoppers after an increase in incidents of purse snatching.

Insp Kevin Wakefield said: “Often it is the elderly who are targeted – I think it is a reprehensible crime. I would urge people to be on the look-out for such behaviour and report anything suspicious.”

Police will issue two anti-theft devices to anyone concerned about their personal belongings. These are particularly for the elderly or could be handed out to people who may be concerned about an elderly relative.

Officers in Dunmow are also urging people to be vigilant in supermarket car parks and at cash machines.

In other parts of the western division, reports have been received of distraction thefts where thieves are targeting shoppers, often women on their own, while they are loading bags into their cars.

“We have had reports where women have been approached by a woman in crisis, wanting directions to the hospital,” said Insp Wakefield.

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“Meanwhile, an accomplice will make attempts to steal the owner’s purse. These criminals may have already seen the owner put in a pin number for their debit or credit cards at the cash machine or supermarket check out.

“By the time the owner gets home, money will have been taken out of the account.

“I would, therefore, urge people in our district to be vigilant around supermarket car parks and to be mindful when they are putting in their pin number.”

For details about protection against thieves call Uttlesford’s crime reduction adviser Peter Caulfield on 0300 333 4444.