POLICE are warning Cheshire East residents to be 'vigilant' following a spate of ‘purse dipping’ incidents.

In recent weeks, three people have reported their purses having been stolen from their bags.

All three victims were supermarket shoppers, with incidents taking place in Wilmslow, Handforth and Crewe.

Chief Inspector Andy Baker said: “As we see the return of warmer weather, with more people out and about, we have sadly seen a rise in opportunistic thieves on the lookout for an easy way to make criminal gains.

“These criminals can be incredibly good at distracting you and using other methods to steal your belongings, so you may not even realise the crime has taken place.

“This is why we are encouraging everyone to be vigilant and keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

“If you would like some extra reassurance, please pop into your local police station where we will be able to supply you with purse bells to attach to your purse or wallet. These are a really useful tool which will help to alert you to any potential theft.”

The first incident, at 2.30pm on April 23, saw a woman’s purse stolen from her handbag which was in the seat of a shopping trolley in Marks and Spencer in Coppice Way, Handforth.

Then on May 14, at 6pm, police received reports that a woman’s purse had been stolen from her bag, again in a shopping trolley, while at Morrisons in Dunwoody Way, Crewe.

The following day, at 11.30am, a woman reported that her purse was stolen while she was shopping at Sainsbury’s on Alderley Road in Wilmslow.

READ MORE: Police investigating after purses stolen from two elderly women

In a bid to prevent further thefts, Cheshire Police will be hosting a ‘crime prevention stall’ on Grove Street in Wilmslow between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday (May 25).

Police have also shared some simple tips to deter thieves and are urging anyone who sees someone acting suspiciously around others or has any information about incidents of this nature to call 101.

Cheshire Police tips to deter 'purse dipping'

  • Carry your purse in a zipped-up bag, and always keep the bag close to you and where you can see it

  • Attach an audible alarm to your purse/wallet, such as purse bells

  • Never leave your bag in a shopping trolley or basket

  • Avoid withdrawing large amounts of money if not necessary

  • Be aware of people around you, following you, or getting too close to your person and your belonging