Shoppers urged to look after their belongings
Dated: 16 Apr 2011
Shoppers are being reminded to look after their personal belongings following a series of handbag thefts at supermarkets in Newcastle and North Tyneside.
On Friday, April 15, police received reports of four handbag thefts at supermarkets in Byker, Cowgate, Killingworth and Whitley Bay.
The incidents happened between 1.45pm and 4.45pm and in each case, the handbag was stolen from the shopping trolley being used by the victim.
A report of an attempted handbag theft was also received from a store on Team Valley, Gateshead at just after 1pm.
Investigations are underway to trace those responsible for the incidents and officers aren't ruling out the possibility the thefts are linked.
They are also asking people not to leave themselves open to opportunist thieves and to ensure their handbags are safe and secure at all times.
Detective Chief Inspector Max Black, from North Tyneside Area Command, said: "We are doing all we can to locate the offenders and we are following several lines of enquiry.
"However, I would advise people not to leave their handbag unattended when shopping, even just for a few seconds - this is all the time needed for opportunist thieves who are on the look out for easily taken items.
"Valuables also shouldn't be left lying on the top of an open bag which again presents opportunities for thieves. Bags should kept closed and people should keep a close eye on them.
"Northumbria is a safe place to shop and by working together we can keep it that way.
"That includes people being vigilant and reporting any suspicious or unusual behaviour to police.
"I'd also urge anyone with information on these incidents to come forward as they may be able to assist with our investigations."
People can contact police on 03456 043 043 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.