Over the past few weeks there have been a number of thefts of money and credit cards from purses and wallets where the victim has been approached and asked for change. Victims are usually elderly. They will have come out of a store where they have used their card and the suspects will have been close to see the PIN being entered.

The suspects will then approach the victim outside the store, waving money and either speaking very broken English or in a foreign language. They will gesticulate and try and get the victim to open their purse or wallet as they want change. Once the wallet or purse is open they will wave their hands around whilst speaking and distracting the victim. During this they remove credit cards or money. This all happens very quickly.

The suspects for this offence are of Eastern European origin and are either a male working alone or with a female. Descriptions so far – Male 5′ 10″, 50’s, slim build, short brown hair, smartly dressed. Female, 50’s, short with short black hair. Sometimes described as Polish.

There has also been an increase in thefts from unattended bags or shopping trolleys.

Cat bells and lanyards are available from local Police stations, that can be attached to purses to warn victims if they are moved.