Sidmouth purse safe day prevents pickpockets

PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:59 17 June 2010

LANYARDS were handed out to vulnerable people in Sidmouth by PCSOs this week in the hope of deterring pickpockets. The lanyards, which attach to purses and bags, were distributed to elderly people in the Market Square during a Purse Safe Day on Monday m

LANYARDS were handed out to "vulnerable people" in Sidmouth by PCSOs this week in the hope of deterring pickpockets.

The lanyards, which attach to purses and bags, were distributed to elderly people in the Market Square during a Purse Safe Day on Monday morning.

PCSO Jay Pepper, who is the driving force behind the initiative, said: "We want to be pro-active rather than reactive. We gave people crime prevention advice and everyone we offered lanyards to accepted them with good grace.

"I gave out a couple of lanyards to an elderly couple from Bristol. The lady said she wished she'd had one a few weeks ago as her purse was snatched."

Merry Harrison, a Sidmouth resident, said: "I think it is a very good idea. I was walking past the PCSO and I had my bag wide open. I will definitely use the lanyard and I feel much more secure."

Over 500 lanyards, costing £450, were given to Sidmouth Police by Gerry Moore of East and Mid Devon Safety Partnership Team and the scheme was given the green light by Crime Prevention Officer, Nick Farrell.

Gerry Moore said: "We felt it was important in a place like Sidmouth that lanyards should be handed out to those who are most vulnerable.

"It was an uphill struggle for PCSO Pepper to get any funding so when she contacted us we thought we would really like to support the initiative."

PCSO Pepper added: "Without the Community Safety Partnership and the other PCSOs I wouldn't have been able to do this.

"When I deal with people after they have been a victim of a pickpocket they are so distressed.

"Some people lose their confidence and won't come out of their houses again for a long time. We hope this will give them back their confidence."

Sidmouth Police kept 250 lanyards and divided the rest between Seaton, Axminster, Honiton and Ottery St Mary Police.

Most of the lanyards were given out on Monday but there are around 25 left at Sidmouth Police Station which can be picked up during office opening times.

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