Shoppers are being urged to be on their guard after a spate of purse thefts in Whitley Bay.
Three crimes were reported in the town last week after shoppers had been visiting charity shops.
The first happened on Thursday, November 24, when a 57-year-old woman had visited several charity shops during the day, on her return home she realised her purse had been stolen.
Also on the day, between noon and 12.30pm, a 60-year-old woman was in the Red Cross shop when her purse was stolen.
A second attempted purse theft was reported on Park View on Friday lunchtime by a 52-year-old woman shopper. The woman felt someone touch her handbag and when she confronted the man he walked off. Nothing was stolen.
Police are now reminding shoppers to take care over the festive period and keep a close eye on their purses.
Neighbourhood Inspector Martin Brooks said: “We want to alert shoppers to these incidents and remind people to keep hold of their bags and make sure they are zipped and secure at all times to help prevent further thefts.
“I’d like remind people to take extra care and make sure they always close their bag and carry it over the shoulder in front of them.
“Please make sure your bag is not left unattended while browsing in stores and don’t leave your valuables lying on top of open bags, where opportunist thieves can easily steal them. Make sure you don’t keep your bank card pin number in your purse with your bank card.
“It only takes a second for an opportunist thief to strike and we want to help prevent further crimes.
“Extra police are on patrol in the area to reassure the public and deter criminals from committing these offences.
Anyone with information about these offences should call police on 101, quoting reference number 460 of 24/11/16 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For more crime prevention advice visit the force website at www.northumbria.police.uk