A pensioner is afraid to leave her home after twice being preyed upon by bag-snatchers in the past fortnight in Farnham town centre.
The first theft took place inside or just outside Poundland in The Borough on Friday, February 24.
Thieves are believed to have lifted the 79-year-old lady’s purse out of her bag and attempted to withdraw cash from her account using a bank card. The victim had written her pin number on a piece of paper in the purse – but as she rarely withdrew cash from ATMs, her bank flagged the attempted withdrawal as suspicious and blocked it.
However, on Monday this week, thieves struck again when the lady’s purse was again taken from her handbag in the Cancer Research shop in Downing Street.
Her purse was later found dumped in the shop, missing around £20 in cash. But fortunately on this occasion she had kept her bank card safe in the bottom of her bag.
The victim’s son told the Herald his mother is now too scared to walk back into the town centre.
He said she is used to walking into Farnham to feed her reading habit has been left “shaken up” and “wary of being out and about” after the series of thefts.
The elderly victim’s son contacted the Herald as he wanted to alert others to the presence of thieves in the town centre, and to take extra care of their purses and other possessions.
He said his mum was far from the only victim and shopkeepers have told him theft is becoming a regular occurrence in the town centre.
This is supported by police crime stats, which show there were 23 incidents of theft, including seven cases of shoplifting, reported to police in Farnham town centre in January alone.
And the Herald understands retailers have called for additional CCTV and security measures to curb shoplifting as part of Farnham’s fledgling Business Improvement District (BID) project.
Waverley’s neighbourhood policing team has confirmed it is investigating the recent thefts, and officers have shared the following steps people can take to protect their property when shopping:
- Keep purses and bags closed and secure at all times.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you when you are out shopping.
- Carry bags in front of you or diagonally across your chest.
- Return cards to your purse or wallet quickly and zip it up or button it.
- Use a purse that’s difficult for others to open – one that zips or snaps shut it best.
- Conceal your wallet in a buttoned or zipped pocket where it doesn’t bulge.
- Don’t hang bags on the back of your chair or a pushchair.