SOUTH Yorkshire Police are reminding the public to look after their belongings during the Christmas period.

Crime Reduction Officer Dene Tinker offers the following advice to avoid you becoming a victim of theft whilst out shopping and socialising.

“Pickpockets don’t always operate alone, they may work in teams to distract a person while someone unseen removes the items and blends back into the crowd.

“Pickpockets can also operate in shops and department stores, where people are more likely to be standing still, distracted and so paying less attention to their belongings, making them an easier target.

“Be more aware of your surroundings in busy shops and shopping centres because they’re ideal places for pickpockets, as it’s easier for them to brush past people, take items and blend into the crowd.”

When you are out and about remember:

•Don’t hang bags/coats on the back of a chair •Don’t leave your bags on shopping trollies unattended

•Don’t leave anything on the back of a pushchair •Don’t place your belongings out of sight on the floor

•Don’t be distracted at cash machines and put your money away as soon as possible.

Dene Tinker said: “Remember, having a zipped bag doesn’t mean you’re totally safe. Thieves have been known to walk behind victims while slowly unzipping bags.

"Yes, they can be that bold, but never underestimate a pickpocket.

“Lastly, trust your instincts in all situations and remember... If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t, so walk away!”