SHOPPERS in Edinburgh are being urged to be vigilant against purse snatchers this festive period as part of a new country-wide safety campaign.
Under the Watch Your Purse campaign, shoppers are being warned to watch out for would-be thieves and to take precautions to keep their purses, wallets and personal belongings safe from pickpockets over the Christmas and New Year period.
The campaign has been launched by the Scottish Business Crime Centre and is aimed at educating shoppers acrossScotlandabout the dangers of festive thieves. The initiative has also won the backing of major high street retailers including Scotmid and Semi-Chem.
Gary Ritchie, Assistant Director at SBCC, said that by taking a few simple steps shoppers could protect themselves against Christmas heartache and keep their possessions safe from opportunistic thieves.
He added: “Often it isn’t the actual loss of the purse that’s the worst thing, it is the subsequent upheaval of cancelling and replacing cards and house keys and the possible loss of personal items like photographs and mementoes.
“Clearly there are security issues in changing or replacing cards but equally there is always the danger of someone else trying to use your identity. It’s a huge problem over the festive season, when opportunistic thieves target Christmas shoppers, but you can protect yourself by taking a few simple precautions.
“Under no circumstances should you keep your PIN in your wallet or purse, as this gives thieves the easiest chance to steal your money. In addition, you should make sure your bag is zipped and with you at all times as thieves are quick and will be looking out for easy opportunities to snatch your wallet or purse.
“Our tips are fairly common sense but in the mad rush of things they are often forgotten. Things like making sure purses and wallets are out of sight and secure are vital to prevent being left vulnerable to theft this Christmas.
“People should also keep an eye out for friends on nights out and ensure they also keep their bags secure. Be vigilant at all times and ensure sure you make it as difficult as possible for a thief to make a snatch and grab when you are out in town this Christmas and New Year.”
In addition to its major sponsor Scotmid, the Watch Your Purse campaign is also supported by the Federation of Small Businesses, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, as well as many ofScotland’s major shopping centres.
Under the campaign, posters and special reminder cards the size of credit cards will be distributed widely to shoppers throughout the country to drive home the message of keeping safe during the festive season.
Ian Lovie, Compliance Manager at Scotmid, said: “We are always looking at ways in which we can help our customers to have a great shopping experience.
“At this time of year, people need to be particularly vigilant so that Christmas doesn’t become remembered for all the wrong reasons. As a responsible retailer we are delighted to help promote this campaign.”
More information about the Watch Your Purse campaign information can be found on the Scottish Business Crime Centre website www.sbcc.org.uk.