Police are warning of a spate of thefts from handbags in Hucknall town centre, with bells offered to people who want to protect their property from “purse dippers”.
Neighbourhood Watch says the thieves are targeting elderly people and are noting down PIN numbers when watching them at cash machines.
The group also asked shoppers to be careful not to flash too much cash and always keep purses and handbags zipped-up at all times.
Sergeant Simon Scales, said: “There have been in the past few weeks a small number of incidents involving people stealing from purses, “purse dipping”, and handbags in the Hucknall town centre area.
“The offenders will select their victim and wait for an opportunity when the victim is distracted to make their move.
“They will select mostly elderly victims who have been to the bank to withdrawal cash and go shopping.
“They are also believed to be watching shoppers at cash machines, noting down their PIN numbers so when they steal their purses and wallets, they can use cards to withdraw cash later on.”
Police have some advice. A spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Constabulary said: “Simply be aware of the people who are around you when withdrawing cash over a counter or from an ATM or when conducting a transaction in a shop.
“Hold the purse or wallet close to your body when you’re using it rather than holding it out in front of you where it and its contents can be seen more easily.
“When the purse goes back into the handbag then the handbag should be fastened or zipped up so that the easy dip can’t happen.”