Police Column: Drop in purse thefts in Stamford town centre

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This week’s police column, written by community beat sergeant Rachel Blackwell, focuses on several recent crime trends.

Purse Thefts in the town centre

Police efforts to combat purse thefts in and around High Street, Stamford, seem to have been effective.

There have been no thefts reported since the start of March, compared to five reported thefts in February.

We have, however, seen a purse stolen from the trolley of a shopper who turned her back on her trolley in Morrisons in Stamford to look at groceries on a lower shelf. The theft happened at about midday on Saturday.

At about 3pm the same day, a shopper in Bourne had their purse stolen from a bag while browsing in a charity shop in the Burghley Centre.

We continue to receive a high number of reports of purses “lost” in Stamford, with their owners believing that they might have fallen out of their pocket, and no other evidence to show they were victims of theft.

I remind shoppers to remain cautious with their purses and zip them away safely in their bags.

I recently went out on to the High Street out of uniform and tried to look at shoppers through the eyes of a thief.

I was able to identify at least two shoppers whose purses I could have helped myself to, with one shopper having her bag gaping open.

With the second shopper, I actually managed to pick up her purse from a counter, and get all the way out of the store with it, without her noticing, as she chatted to the shop assistant.

I am also mindful that while our efforts seem to be having a positive effect on the High Street, the problem might move on to other retail areas, as in the Morrisons case.

Stranger Danger

In the last two weeks we reported on a man who approached school pupils in the Bourne area.

We made an arrest with regard to this on March 9.

In Stamford this week a group of teenage boys was approached by a chubby man, who asked them if they knew how to find a long-lost friend before offering them cigarettes and alcohol.

The boys, aged 13 and 16, declined and the man offered to take them back to his house to play on the computer.

When the boys walked away, the man joined up with a young woman who clearly knew him.

The incident happened at 6pm on Tuesday at the old park equipment behind Mountbatten Avenue and Trinity Road.

The man was in his 40s, about 5ft 8in and was balding with thin grey hair. He had a distinctive long, pointed nose and smelled strongly of beer.

He wore a green checked shirt, black leather jacket, green tracksuit bottoms and black boots.

The woman was in her late teens, slim with shoulder length black hair. She wore a polo shirt, black jacket and leggings with brown high heeled shoes.

If you have any information about this or similar incidents, or the descriptions provided remind you of anyone you know, 
please call 101 quoting incident 367 of March 19.

This is an unusual and isolated incident but serves to remind children about “stranger danger”, particularly as we approach the Easter holidays.

Some good advice for parents can be found by visiting www.netmums.com and searching for “Stranger Danger”.

Car tricksters

We received a positive response to our column last week about men flagging down motorists claiming to need money for fuel or in return for jewellery.

The more information we can gather about the people doing this and the vehicles they are using, the more chance we stand of arresting them and forming a picture about the criminal gangs doing it.

One caller provided useful information about an encounter he had had close to us, but in the Cambridgeshire area. Another caller had had men jump out in front of his vehicle in Bourne on Monday - incident 282 of March 18.