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Is your purse protected?

15 Apr 2019
  • There have been six incidents reported to police in the past week.

  • Police are urging shoppers to remain vigilant.

  • Three people were arrested on suspicion of theft and have been released under investigation.

Shoppers in Bishop’s Stortford are being reminded to remain vigilant as police continue to tackle purse thefts in the town centre.

In the past week (since Monday, April 8) there have been six incidents reported to police.

On Thursday (April 11) officers arrested two women, both aged 35 and a man, aged 32, all from London, on suspicion of theft following reports of an incident in the town centre. They have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Sergeant Mark Collins, from the Bishop’s Stortford Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “Tackling purse dippings is one of our current neighbourhood priorities and we are working hard to identify offenders, while also educating shoppers and businesses on how they can prevent incidents from occurring.

“While the majority of people who shop in the town do so without issue, it can be a very upsetting experience if your personal belongings are stolen. We’re urging people to take simple steps to help better protect their valuables while out and about.”

Advice includes:
• Never leave your bag or other personal belongings unattended while out shopping, this includes leaving it in a trolley or on a table in a café.
• Make sure your bag is kept zipped up and carried in front of you at all times to prevent opportunist thieves from reaching in.
• Keep your purse at the bottom of your bag so it is more difficult for thieves to locate.
• Be aware of anyone who may be acting suspiciously around you, especially at cash machines or while using chip and pin machines. Always keep your PIN shielded.
• Report any suspicious activity to shop staff or police straight away.

Sgt Mark Collins continued: “We regularly hold engagement events in the town, to allow people to meet with local officers and get crime prevention advice. I’d encourage people to pop along for a chat and to pick up freebies, such as purse bells and card protectors, which can help prevent opportunist thieves from taking your belongings.”

Upcoming Coffee with a Cop events in Bishop’s Stortford town centre:
• Monday, April 15 (1pm) – Bishop’s Stortford Library
• Wednesday, April 24 (3pm) – Marks and Spencer café
• Saturday, April 27 (3pm) – Sainsbury’s café in Jackson Square
• Thursday, May 2 (9am) – Costa Coffee
• Thursday, May 9 (noon) – Starbucks

To report suspicious behaviour, call the non-emergency number 101 or report information online at
If a crime is in progress, always call 999.

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