THE sound of jingle bells could be the sound of a crime being thwarted this Christmas.
Police are handing out tiny presents to elderly or vulnerable people shopping in Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres.
They are little bells which can be attached to purses - so if a pickpockets tries to steal one from a shopping bag the tell-tale tinkle will immediately alert the victim.
Insp David Glover, of Huddersfield Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "They are a very simple idea, but get across to people the importance of keeping their purses safe, especially at this time of year.
"As we patrol through the town centres we look for potentially vulnerable victims, stop them and give them a jingle bell."
The bells are part of a high-visibility policing week in both Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres with extra officers out and about to thwart crime and disorder.
Two elderly shoppers who received the bells are 78-year-old Doreen Watmough and her friend 77-year-old Vera Priestley, who regularly travel from their Bradford homes to shop in Huddersfield.
Vera said: "I think the bells are a great idea."
Police have had trouble with purse-dipping gangs from eastern Europe travelling to Huddersfield from surrounding West Yorkshire cities to target shoppers - mostly elderly women.
The classic scenario is for a woman to bump into the shopper, steal the purse from the top of a shopping bag or pocket and quickly pass it to an accomplice who then leaves the shop.
Det Con Russ Conlon, of Kirklees CID intelligence unit, said: "Some of the thieves are very prolific and proficient, committing offences again and again, even after they have been caught."