Elderly and vulnerable people targeted in Sheffield purse thefts

Officers in Sheffield are asking the community to ensure that elderly and vulnerable people are made aware of a recent series of purse thefts, or ‘purse dipping’, offences in the city centre.

Police have received several reports in recent weeks of elderly or vulnerable people being targeted in shops or public places.

In some reports, the victims are distracted by the suspect, who then ‘dips’ into their handbags or bags and takes their purses or wallets.

The cash is removed before the purses/wallets are dumped in bins.

One person was arrested last week in connection with theft of a purse from the city centre, after a woman reported the theft and CCTV was examined. Her purse was recovered by a local worker, with everything still inside except the cash. They have since been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

As we head towards the festive season and the city centre is expected to get busier with Christmas shoppers, officers are concerned crimes of this type may rise and want everyone to be aware of suspicious activity.

To try and prevent yourself or others becoming a victim of this crime:

  • Stay alert and aware of individuals around you and what they’re doing
  • Trust your instincts – if you think something is wrong or someone is behaving suspiciously, report it
  • If you’re carrying a bag, make sure all zips and pockets are closed and any clasps are facing inwards
  • Keep valuables out of sight wherever possible.

For more advice, visit our website: www.southyorks.police.uk/find-out/crime-prevention-advice/purse-dipping/

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