Bells will be ringing to deter purse thefts

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Bells will be ringing in one town centre to help deter purse thieves.

Police are handing out purse bells to prevent purse dippings in Whitley Bay town centre as crowds flock to the area to do their Christmas shopping.

The bells are attached to a purse or bag and can act as a deterrent to would-be thieves – when activated they make a noise, alerting the owner and anyone nearby to the theft.

The activity is part of Northumbria Police’s Operation Soundwave, aimed at tackling thieves and burglars across the force during the festive season.

Neighbourhood Inspector Jim Gray said: “The bells are a simple yet effective crime prevention tool, if a thief tries to take a bag or purse, the noise of the bell will alert the owner and should stop thieves in their tracks.

“As part of our ongoing work to ensure Whitley Bay is a safe place for people to enjoy themselves, we’re hosting crime prevention events in the town where purse bells and advice on keeping property secure will be given out.

“I’d like remind people to ensure they always close their bag and carry it over the shoulder in front of you, and never leave it unattended, such as on the back of a chair or in a shopping trolley.

“It only takes a second for an opportunist thief to strike and they will take advantage of insecure property they see lying around.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “Bringing crime levels down is a priority of my police and crime plan and I hope people will go along to these events and join in this ringing warning off thieves at Whitley Bay.

“Anyone attending will also be able to get other crime prevention advice to help keep all their property secure.”

For more crime prevention information visit www.northumbria.police.uk/crimeprevention while people are urged to sign up to free property register Immobilise at www.immobilise.com