South Ribble police issue warning after thieves target handbags

Site: Morrisons in Leyland, where one of the thefts occurred

Site: Morrisons in Leyland, where one of the thefts occurred

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Shoppers have been warned to be on their guard after a number of women’s handbags were targeted by thieves.

South Ribble Neighbourhood police team have urged people to be vigilant after a spate of thefts and attempted thefts in the Leyland area.

We are aware of four incidents. It could be linked. Three of these incidents occurred on the same day and that is unusual

Police are investigating after four reported incidents.

A spokesman for the police said: “We are aware of four incidents. It could be linked. Three of these incidents occurred on the same day and that is unusual.

“People must be very vigilant with their handbags.”

It is understood that thieves are striking unattended bags or using distraction techniques near or on car parks.

One woman had her purse taken from her bag at a shop at the Churchill Way retail estate in Leyland on July 21.

On Friday July 24, three people were singled out. Thieves took a purse from a handbag in a trolley outside Leyland Morrisons.

On the same day, two people tried to snatch a woman’s handbag whilst she unpacked her trolley into her car in Tesco Leyland car park on Towngate.

Later that day a woman’s card was cloned after an Eastern European man, believed to be in his 50s, distracted her whilst someone delved into her purse at the Capitol Centre, Bamber Bridge.

A police spokesman said: “On July 21, a lady discovered that at some point whilst she was in one of the shops on the Churchill Way retail estate that someone had snatched the purse from her handbag.

“The Tesco incident occurred around 1.50pm on July 24 and is an attempted theft.

“It is believed that two men approached a woman on the car park while she was loading her shopping into her car.

“The first man asked for directions to the local hospital.

“He got a piece of paper and a pen out to draw a map whilst she was unloading her shopping. Whilst the second man attempted to remove the woman’s handbag from her car.

“On July 24 at Morrisons a lady left a handbag in her shopping trolley. When she got back it was still there but her purse was missing from it.

“Later that day near Waitrose someone has asked a lady for directions whilst another person swiped her cash card from her purse inside her handbag.

“They got the details from it and put it back.

“Later on she discovered £300 had been taken from her bank and £3,000 had also been transferred from her account.”

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