Police in Huddersfield are going into action against pickpockets and street thieves.

They plan to use both plainclothes officers and a high-visible presence with officers patrolling the town centre in the run up to Christmas.

Officers will also be visiting the surrounding retail parks to reassure the public, especially the elderly who are particularly vulnerable.

The operation will be led by Sgt Mandy Mellor who said: “Our intention is to reduce the occurrences of theft from persons, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

“In the past we have seen a great reduction of these types of offences when we run projects like this.”

Police launch Christmas crime prevention drive - Sgt. Mandy Mellor and Support Officer Sharon Dobson.

Officers will be visiting shops and stores to give out crime prevention advice and leaflets, and will also be handing out purse bells free of charge. They can be attached to purses and sound if someone tries to take one.

Sgt Mellor added: “The best advice we can give people is to keep their purse in an inside pocket, zipped up. Be extra careful at the till because it can be busy and so people need to be more vigilant.

“People may be shopping with more money on them than usual, so put it in a jacket or coat pocket out of reach or inside a zip pocket in a bag.

“Officers have a great working relationship with staff and security staff in the shops and stores and will be liaising closely with them to prevent losses.”

There will be an exhibition van on New Street tomorrow, (Sat), between 11am and 3pm if members of the public want some advice or want to give any information to the Police.

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Tips to beat thieves:

  • When out shopping, keep your purse safe inside your handbag and securely close your bag.
  • Beware of anyone acting suspicious or getting too close to you, or those who try to distract you by bumping into you.
  • Report suspicious behaviour to the police, security or to shop staff.
  • Purse bells are a good idea.

If you have any information about a crime like this, contact West Yorkshire Police on 101. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.