Elderly women in St Helens get advice following series of thefts from handbags

Officers from St Helens attended an Older People’s Forum with the charity Age UK earleir this week to raise awareness about theft from elderly women in the town centre, following a series of offences.

Working alongside St Helens Community Safety Partnership (CSP), purse bells were also  issued to people at the event.

The meeting took place at 1pm at The Mansion House, Victoria Park, City Road and was attended by around 40 elderly people. A victim of crime attended to offer advice and talk about her experience.

In March, a 35-year-old man from Anfield was arrested on suspicion of theft from a person following an incident in Asda, Kirkdale Street. He remains under investigation in connection with various offences in the area, in which purses had been stolen from victims.

Community Sergeant Diane Veasey explains more: “Our community officers are working closely with Age UK, businesses, security staff and the local community to highlight the issue, raise awareness and give some practical crime prevention advice, as well as issuing the purse bells, which are a really effective deterrent.

“I want to encourage everyone in the community to support us in making sure the elderly people in your life are safe from the distressing experience of being a victim of theft.

“Be alert, keep your purse secure, and try to ensure your purse is not on display. Together we can have a big impact on crime against elderly and vulnerable people and I would continue to encourage people to report any offences, suspicious circumstance or other information on theft and crime against the elderly to local officers or via our other channels.”

Mark Lunney, CEO of Age UK Mid Mersey said: “We are delighted to be hosting community partners at one of its regular Mansion House luncheon club events to help raise awareness of how to stay safe in our town centre. Age UK Mid Mersey is committed to making positive changes to the lives of older people in St Helens so that they may have an improved quality of life and empowerment reducing the risk of older people becoming socially isolated.

St Helens Council’s portfolio holder for community safety, Councillor Anthony Burns, said: “When an elderly resident falls victim to a crime like theft, it can have a severe impact on their confidence and they may become isolated as a result.

“People should be able to visit our town centre without fear of being targeted by thieves – and the council will continue to work with its community partners to raise awareness of crime to ensure residents are best advised on how to keep themselves safe.”

Anyone with information on theft or any issues after community is asked to speak to local officers, message @MerpolCC, or you can call @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also follow @StHelensPolice on Facebook and local Twitter accounts.

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