Police warning after spate of purse thefts in Hemel Hempstead

Shoppers are being urged to remain vigilant after three incidents of purse thefts at supermarkets in Hemel Hempstead.

At 3.15pm on Wednesday, March 13, a woman aged in her 60s was loading her shopping into the boot of her car at Tesco in Jarman Way leaving her handbag on the vehicle’s front seat.

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While she was doing this her purse, containing cash and bank cards, was stolen.

The offender(s) subsequently attempted to use one of her bank cards but the transaction was blocked by the bank because the victim had already cancelled the card.

Between 11.45am and 12.45pm on Thursday, March 7, a woman aged in her 70s left her handbag on the child seat of her shopping trolley while inside Sainsbury’s in London Road.

When she got to the till she realised the bag had been stolen.

One of her bank cards was subsequently used several times at a petrol station and then at McDonalds.

At 2pm on Tuesday, March 5, a woman aged in her 80s was shopping in Aldi in London Road when she released that her purse was missing from her bag.

Sergeant Karen Mellor from the Hemel Hempstead Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “Sadly it appears that these offenders are deliberately targeting older members of our community.

"I would urge all shoppers to remain vigilant and ensure you never leave your handbag or personal belongings unattended.

"If using a handbag, use one that can be closed properly, preferably zipped up, so that it is more difficult for someone to open it and reach in and where possible wear the handbag strap across your body so that it is more secure.

“Consider using a purse lanyard which attaches your phone or purse/wallet to your bag or clothes. If keeping a purse or wallet in a pocket always keep it in a front pocket rather than the back to make it harder for a thief to snatch it unnoticed."