Don't get dipped!
03 Feb 2017 13:12 PM[View Full Size]
Police are urging people in the Gateshead to protect their wallets and purses after a number of 'dippings' in the town.
In the last three weeks officers have received seven reports of purses having been stolen from elderly people while shopping in the town centre.
Enquiries lead officers to believe that the offender, or offenders, are specifically targeting elderly people who are shopping in the charity shops around Jackson Street.
Police believe the purse thieves are watching the victims go into the Post Office, withdraw cash, and are then following them into the shops and discretely dipping into their bags or pockets and stealing purses.
An investigation to try and find those responsible and arrest them is ongoing, however officers are warning people to be on their guard and protect their valuables.
Inspector Mick Robson said: "It's disgusting to think there are individuals out there preying on elderly people shopping in charity shops for their purses and their money, and it's vital we put a stop to it as soon possible by arresting them. If anyone knows who is doing this then please contact us and pass on any information and we will do the rest.
"If you're carrying a purse, wallet, cash or anything valuable then please keep it safe. Store it in an inside pocket if possible and keep it securely closed and zipped. Make sure that it can't be easily reached or could fall out, and if keeping it in a bag then make sure the bag is closed, zipped, locked or shut and kept tight close to you when in public.
"If you're out shopping and see anyone you think is eyeing up an elderly person's bag or purse as a target then please ring the police or let staff in the shop know immediately."
To report any suspicious behaviour ring 101, or 999 if a crime is happening.