With the arrival of warmer weather comes an increase in thefts of purses and wallets from shops.
Most small shops do not have air conditioning. When the weather starts to heat up the best way to cool the place down is to open the back door. Unfortunately, staff rooms and canteens are normally situated at the rear of shops. This is where staff, particularly female staff, tend to leave their handbags and purses while they are working.
The opportunist thief is well aware of this. While the weather is hot, the police receive a steady stream of reports of sneak thieves stealing valuables in this way.
Councillor Gary Waller, Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said: ‘Criminals are opportunists. We relax in the sunshine and warm weather, and we forget to take care. While we’re off our guard, it’s a time when thieves will take advantage. Most shopkeepers are all too aware of the risk from shoplifting, but this is a timely reminder of the need to protect their own personal possessions as well as their stock.”
Tony Ellis, Crime Reduction Officer for the Epping Forest Police District said: “The solution is simple. Handbags and purses need to be locked away while you are working. If your employer provides a secure locker use it. If they don’t, ask them to provide a secure facility where you can lock your personal belongings while you are working.”
Mr Ellis added: “ The inconvenience caused by these crimes often outweighs the financial loss. You have to cancel and reapply for bank cards, replace other cards such as store cards as well as having the worry that the thief has gained your personal details from your bag. Even more annoying is that this type of crime is totally avoidable.”
Don’t become the next victim … lock it away or lose it!