OFFICERS in Barnsley have issued a warning to shoppers after several incidents of purse thefts in the town centre, and have introduced a way for people to ‘hear’ their purse.

‘Purse bells’ have been introduced by South Yorkshire Police and are available for people to pick up at the front desk in Barnsley Police Station.

Sergeant Steph Coverley said: “It’s the time of year when our high streets across South Yorkshire start to get busier, with people beginning their Christmas shopping.

Unfortunately, it’s also the season where we see an increase in thieves targeting people for their purses and valuables.

“This week two elderly people have had their purses taken in Barnsley town centre, which is clearly upsetting and can have a bigger emotional impact than people think.

“We know that the types of people carrying out this activity often work in teams and operate by distracting vulnerable members of the public, so please keep your eyes peeled for this type of behaviour.

“Often the simplest methods of crime prevention are the best that’s why we’ve got purse bells available for anyone who would like one. If you pop along to Barnsley Police Station and speak to the front desk you can pick one up for your mum, grandma, friend or yourself.

“You can always speak to any of our officers or PCSOs that you see on the beat, in fact we’d love to have a chat, so bear this in mind too.”

There will be two police engagement stalls are at Barnsley Market on Wednesday from 1pm to 3pm and Thursday at Barnsley Library between 10am and noon.