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Shoppers warned of theft of handbags.

Byline: JOE DORAN

CRAFTY crooks are raking it in by targeting unsuspecting shoppers in Ulster.

In the latest scam robbers are doing a roaring trade by looting handbags in supermarkets.

Unaware they are being watched, women abandon their handbags in their shopping trolleys during their weekly shop.

And while they gather goods in the next aisle the clever crooks launch their attack and flee.

In the latest incident, thieves struck at a store in Downpatrick.

Police said cash and personal belongings were stolen from a handbag at Safeway on the Ballyduggan Road last week.

CCTV cameras dotted throughout the supermarket failed to pick up the thief.

For he made sure he waited until the trolley was parked in an aisle which wasn't being filmed.

It's also believed there were a number of similar incidents at stores in the area in recent weeks.

A police spokesman said: "This is not a new ploy but we haven't had a call regarding this kind of theft for a few months.

"There were a few reported incidents in Dungannon recently, but this is the first of its kind in Downpatrick," he said.

News of the crimewave comes in the same week that designers launched a range of handbags and money pouches to fend off would-be thieves.

The so-called security accessories include stealth belts and bands for concealing mobiles and other personal valuables favoured by thieves and pick-pockets.

The accessories are designed to head-off four popular techniques employed by criminals including dipping, grabbing, lifting and slashing.

The products, which will be marketed by Selfridges and other leading stores, include security features such as anti-slash materials, cut-proof straps, combination lock clops and personal alarms.
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 4, 2002
Words:278
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