STAFFORDSHIRE Police is issuing a reminder to take simple crime prevention measures to keep handbag, purses, wallets and money safe as more people do their Christmas shopping.
Pickpockets can work in groups and use distraction methods. One can 'bump' into someone while another quickly takes a wallet or purse.
Ladies are encouraged to wear across-the-body handbags with the zipper or clasp near the body, and never leave a handbag unattended on a trolley, pushchair or wheelchair as it can be stolen in seconds. Be aware of who is around when using an ATM or paying for goods. Shield your pin number and be careful not to let people see what's in your purse.
Chief Inspector Martin Brereton said: "We take this type of crime seriously and we will have plain-clothed officers targeting these thieves as well as uniformed officers to offer reassurance to shoppers.
"Anyone caught pickpocketing will be arrested and face prosecution."