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Police warn shoppers to beware after spate of distraction thefts

PUBLISHED: 14:32 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:49 19 April 2019

Close-up Of A Person Stealing Purse From Handbag Photo: Getty Images

Close-up Of A Person Stealing Purse From Handbag Photo: Getty Images

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Police has issued a warning after a number of "handbag dipping" thefts.

Handbag dipping is when an offender removes purses or other valuable items from a handbag left unzipped, unattended or using distraction techniques.

It comes after police were called at approximately 12.30pm on Saturday, April 13 by a woman who reported that while putting her shopping into her car at the Forest Retail Park, Thetford she was approached by a man.

He then distracted her by asking for details of a vet.

When the victim got in her car and drove off she realised that her purse had been stolen from inside her handbag.

Breckland police took to twitter to share its tips for avoiding becoming a victim of distraction theft.

The force advises people to keep any handbag close to the body, zipped-up and to avoid leaving it unattended.

When shopping or out and about be mindful of distractions as thieves may be working in pairs to divert attention and take the contents of the bag. When at restaurants or cafes, place the bag on either your lap or on the floor between your feet.

It also warned that supermarkets and outdoor markets were the most common place for this sort of crime to happen.

Shoppers are also urged to avoid carrying purses or wallets in a back trouser pocket, keep cash secure and out of sight and not to write down PIN numbers to keep in wallets, purses or handbags.

Paula Gilluley, community engagement officer for Breckand, said: “We have had some reports of distraction or “handbag dipping” thefts.

Please read crime prevention advice and share with your friends and family to avoid becoming a victim of theft. Always report anything suspicious to police.

A similar spate of thefts hit supermarkets in North Norfolk last month when multiple people had purses and wallets stolen in Diss, Swaffham and North Walsham.

Anyone who may have any information should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting crime number 36/24802/19.

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