Bells to beat bag snatchers

STEPHEN PULLINGER It is being billed by Yarmouth police as the purrfect way to deter summer holiday bag snatchers - not extra beat bobbies or more CCTV cameras but old-fashioned cats' bells.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

It is being billed by Yarmouth police as the purrfect way to deter summer holiday bag snatchers - not extra beat bobbies or more CCTV cameras but old-fashioned cats' bells.

In what might be described as a ringing endorsement of crime prevention, more than 1,000 of the tiny bells are being handed out to shoppers and holidaymakers all over the resort.

The idea is that the bells can be simply fixed to the zips of handbags, purses and wallets and their tinkle will put off thieves and alert owners if they are being grabbed.

Crime prevention officer PC Pat Bailey was yesterday too modest to present himself as the cat's whiskers for introducing the bell idea to the county, confessing it came from Essex.

He said: “We are receiving reports of more and more bag snatchers as we get to the height of the holiday season. People can put them on the zips of handbags and purses and it will hopefully deter thieves.

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“The noise of the bells will also act as a reminder to people to put their bags and purses away safely. A lot of people are their own worst enemy and leave purses on the top of shopping bags or their handbag. Some are then sadly taken and that serves to put up our crime figures.”

PC Bailey said he had bought more than 1,000 bells from a firm in Essex, making it a very cheap as well as simple crime prevention measure.

“Throughout the summer, they will be handed out by PCs and police community support officers from the safer neighbourhood teams to whoever they see fit,” he said.

“We only started today but we have already had some approving comments from shoppers. People have been coming up and asking for them and they really realise the benefit.”

In the past two weeks, four bag-snatch type thefts have been reported in the Market Square area alone. In one, a man had his wallet taken from his back pocket while in another, a woman had her handbag taken while it was hanging on the bars of a wheelchair she was pushing.

The same day a man had his mobile phone taken from his back pocket, while the following day a mother had her handbag taken from the handlebars of her pushchair.

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