Officers in Eastleigh have been actively tackling purse theft in the town. Pc Rob Thomas from Eastleigh Central Safer Neighbourhoods team has secured a stock of purse chains which are being distributed to vulnerable people across Eastleigh, along with PCSO Tina Fry who organises high profile police advice surgeries in Leigh Road on a monthly basis where the anti-theft purse chains are given out. Pc Rob Thomas said:
“There has been a recent increase in purse thefts in Eastleigh, whilst this hasn’t been a huge problem there were certainly more than normal and we targeted our patrols to tackle those responsible whilst working to protect vulnerable victims and spread the crime prevention and personal safety message”
“We have used plain clothed officers, the excellent town centre CCTV and spoken directly to people who we think maybe targeted & given them practical advice as they shop”
Ps Chris Spellerberg who leads the Central team said:
“My team have been working hard to stop purse thefts. Recently a number of suspects have been arrested, this has been through some excellent and intelligent coppering, getting out on the streets & putting in hours reviewing CCTV footage & being vigilant in our patrols. Arresting those who we suspect for these crimes committed against vulnerable people.”
“My PCSO’s are handing out purse lanyards, getting onto buses coming into Eastleigh especially on Market days and speaking with shoppers and residents to raise awareness of their personal safety & give crime prevention advice”
A 21 year-old man from Southampton is on Police Bail to return to Southampton Central Police Station in November, having been arrested on suspicion of stealing a purse.
A 16 year old woman is on court bail, with strict conditions, to appear at Southampton Youth Court on December 8 for trial, charged with a number of purse thefts.
There are currently five suspects from Southampton are on bail for conspiracy to steal purses and due to return to Southampton Central Police Station on December 12.
Pc Thomas said:
“We have had a huge amount of positive feedback from customers and purse theft reports have reduced significantly.
A lot of the advice is common sense such as keeping handbags zipped or closed, ensuring valuables such as purses are stored at the bottom and being alert to anyone around you that you feel might be acting suspiciously.
Purse lanyards can be picked up by speaking to any of us on patrol in the town, pop in and pick up at Eastleigh Police station or leave your address & we’ll post one to you.”
Photo: West Mercia Police