Purse theft victims saved by the bell in new scheme
HUNDREDS of Tamworth shoppers have taken advantage of free purse bells in a bid to drive down a recent surge of pickpockets.
Events in Ankerside Shopping Centre, Ventura Park and Sainsbury's supermarket saw officers give out free advice and the crime preventing bells.
It was launched in response to a rise in the number of purse thefts in the town.
The bells clip to purses and jingle when the item is removed, alerting the owner.
Tamworth's Town Safe Co-ordinator John Carthy, who took part in the event, said: "People have been very supportive of what we are doing to try to reduce purse thefts and help people feel safer while they are out and about in the town.
"We have been offering some very straightforward advice about staying safe, as well as giving out purse bells, and this will make it much harder for thieves to operate."
The event was organised by the Tamworth Community Safety Partnership, which includes street wardens, Town Safe, Neighbourhood Watch and Staffordshire Police.
Two weeks ago, The Herald reported how four women had their purses snatched over the space of a week.
Two of the incidents happened in Sainsbury's, with one in Ankerside. A purse theft was also reported in Morrisons.
In March, a 74-year-old pensioner had her purse snatched in a Tamworth town centre charity shop.
The same month, police had also warned pub and club-goers to keep an eye on their possessions after thieves struck the Trinity nightclub and the Vanity Bar in Bolebridge Street.
The campaign is part of an ongoing drive which has seen similar events take place in the town over the last year.
Bells were handed out in supermarkets around Tamworth during a summer campaign in response to dozens of reports of purse, handbag and wallet thefts. They are also often handed out in the run-up to Christmas.
The Community Safety Partnership are planning to host more safety days in the future.