As the final week of Christmas shopping for 2015 approaches, Cheshire police are urging shoppers to be vigilant when they’re out and about.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “Purse dipping can be distressing for victims. They not only lose money and face the hassle of cancelling and re-arranging cards but purses and wallets often contain pictures and similar items which have a sentimental value and are literally irreplaceable.

“Purse dippers are not worried about people’s feelings. They’re looking for an easy touch and are quite unscrupulous. I urge people to take heed of the crime prevention advice, and keep an eye on your purse/wallet at all times.”

By taking a few simple precautions you can deter opportunistic thieves:

  • Walk with a sense of purpose
  • Carry your purse in a zipped-up-bag. Keep the bag where you can see it.
  • Attach an audible alarm to your purse/wallet (for example jingle bells)
  • Never leave your bag in a shopping trolley or basket
  • Make sure you are not followed or engaged in conversation by someone who might be looking for an opportunity to steal from you.

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Police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, said: “Christmas is the season of goodwill to all men. However, some people take the opportunity to help themselves to things that aren’t theirs. By taking precautions to help yourself, you’re helping officers on the frontline to support you, when and where they’re needed.”

Anyone with information about crime in your area should contact Cheshire Police on 101, in emergencies dial 999. Alternatively information can be left anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.