Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Women's handbags 'stolen' in South Yorkshire Police op

Undercover police officers in a South Yorkshire supermarket "stole" 49 handbags and purses during a three-hour period to educate shoppers.

South Yorkshire Police said it had performed the operation with four undercover officers to show people how easy it was for thieves.

The force said it had taken handbags from trolleys and purses from unzipped handbags in Rotherham on Thursday.

Police said people needed to be more vigilant when out shopping.

After removing the items, officers handed them back to their owners and gave advice on how to secure personal possessions.

The force said between April and July 2012, 470 additional offences had taken place compared to the same period last year - a 17% increase.

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