Dorset

Free bells to combat Bournemouth purse thefts

Police in Bournemouth are handing out free bells to Christmas shoppers in a bid to combat pickpockets.

The bells can be attached to wallets and purses and jingle when moved, alerting shoppers to potential thefts, police said.

Officers will be giving out the bells from a stand in Bournemouth Avenue Centre in Commercial Road between 1200 and 1400 GMT every day until Saturday.

The move has been backed by businesses across the town.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Dom Smith said: "This giveaway is all about making people aware of how they can keep their valuables safe when they are shopping.

"We are advising all shoppers not to carry valuables with them if they can avoid it.

"If it is necessary to carry valuables, they should be kept out of sight, preferably in an inner pocket."

Andy Duck, of Bournemouth's Business Reducing Crime, said: "With large crowds and distractions there are unfortunately one or two unsavoury characters who are looking to take advantage and steal other persons property when they are least expecting it."

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