Women warned about handbag thefts

BE ON GUARD ... Inspector Peter Sutton.

BE ON GUARD ... Inspector Peter Sutton.

WOMEN enjoying nights out in South Tyneside have lost a staggering £5,000 worth of property to opportunist thieves so far this year.

The figure has been revealed by police in a bid to highlight the need of partygoers to keep watch of their personal belongings when socialising in pubs and clubs.

Revellers are being warned to be on their guard after items, including phones, handbags, cameras and purses, amounting to more than £5,000 have been reported as stolen from South Shields nightspots since the beginning of January.

Last weekend saw thieves walk away with goods worth £1,300 after bags were left unattended.

Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said: “We know when people are out with their friends enjoying themselves, crime prevention is the last thing on their minds.

“In all these cases handbags and purses were left unattended by the owners – and the sad truth of the matter is, these thefts could have been prevented.”

“All it takes is for an opportunist thief to spot an unattended handbag or phone left lying on a table, dancefloor or even in the toilets, and they won’t hesitate in taking it – don’t give them that chance.”

Police are calling on partygoers to ensure they keep an eye on their belongings, not to leave bags unattended; keep bags shut at all times; and to only take out items they need with them.

Insp Sutton added: “South Shields town centre is one of the safest places for people looking for a night out to come to.

“Officers patrol night spots regularly and can be seen out on the street. This is to not only deter potential thieves but to also offer reassurance to those coming into the area.

“But we do need people to take responsibility for their own personal belongings and to take heed of crime prevention advice.”

Police are asking for people who spot anyone acting suspicious to raise their concerns with a member of staff or to police on patrol.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa

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