Buxton shoppers urged to be on their guard following purse thefts

CRIME: Crime scene.
CRIME: Crime scene.

Shoppers in Buxton are being encouraged to be vigilant when out and about following reports of purse thefts in the town.

At around midday on Monday, November 23, a 74-year-old woman was shopping with her daughter on Spring Gardens in Buxton.

As the pair left the Cancer Research UK store, they noticed that the zip on the woman’s pull along shopping bag had been opened and her purse stolen.

Police received further reports on Monday, November 23 of bag dipping incidents in the town, including at the British Heart Foundation, Ponden House and Sainsbury’s.

Officers are looking to trace two women in connection with the thefts.

The first woman was described as Eastern European, around 5ft 7ins tall, with dark brown hair. She wore cream coloured jeans, a cream jacket with fur around the hood and brown boots.

The second woman was also described as Eastern European, around 5ft 6ins tall, with dark hair. She wore a blue jacket with fur around the hood, denim jeans and brown coloured ankle boots.

Following the incidents, the Buxton Town Safer Neighbourhood Team have been heading out on the beat to chat to shoppers about staying safe when out and about, along with offering free purse chains for added security.

Sergeant Denis Murphy from the town’s policing team said: “It’s easy to forget about security steps when you are joining the crowds of shoppers but thieves are opportunists and it only takes seconds for them to steal your bag or purse.

“Pick-pockets and thieves will generally work in teams with one distracting you by asking directions or bumping into you, whilst the other helps themselves to the contents of your bag or purse.

“We want everyone to enjoy shopping safely over the festive season but are also asking shoppers to think about some simple security steps to protect their property from thieves.

“Don’t make it easy for thieves by keeping your mobile phones or wallets in your back pockets. Instead, keep them in a secure bag worn across the body, or an inside pocket with a zip. Also, secure your purse to your handbag with a purse chain to help prevent it being stolen by thieves.”

To pick up a free purse chain, further crime prevention advice or to chat to the policing team call 101, and follow the team on Twitter: @BuxtonSNT.