Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Out-of-towners believed to be behind purse thefts

15:35 24 July 2014

Community Support Officers Jaz Last (left) and Nicola Amey are on Bury Market offering advice about combating  purse thefts after a recent spate of them.

Community Support Officers Jaz Last (left) and Nicola Amey are on Bury Market offering advice about combating purse thefts after a recent spate of them.


Police believe the offenders behind a spate of purse thefts in Bury St Edmunds town centre are females of Eastern European origin who are travelling to the area from London.


Officers in the town are continuing to warn shoppers to remain vigilant after two further incidents on Wednesday, July 16, putting the number at 16 against women and one against a man since the beginning of June.

Victims range in age from 56 to 92, with the majority over 70.

The issue is a priority for police locally who have launched “Operation Wantage” to tackle the problem.

Speaking at a mobile police station at the market yesterday, Sergeant Davy Hill said the culprits were “criminally organised” and came from out-of-town.

He said generally he believed they came from London, hitting towns along the route, and thought the offenders were female and of Eastern European origin.

He said: “It’s a heinous crime against generally elderly females on a market day – Wednesdays or Saturdays – but we are finding primarily Wednesdays.”

He said there had been a spate of purse thefts a few years ago which the police put their energies into resolving and it ebbed away around Easter 2012.

Since the problem has sprung up again earlier this year, police are working on crime prevention.

The mobile police station will be at the market on Wednesdays until September.

And as well as uniformed officers at the market to combat the thieves, plain clothes officers are also carrying out covert surveillance.

Sgt Hill said: “I think we are making inroads. There’s a way to go. Our ultimate aim is to resolve and remove this problem.

“It went away for a long period of time. Why it’s resurfaced again I cannot say, but what I do know is they target vulnerable people. I would have to say maybe these people don’t have a conscience because that person could be their grandmother or grandfather.”

On July 16, for the first time in the recent spate of thefts, a man was targeted by the thieves.

The 73-year-old had his wallet and small change purse stolen from the open pocket of his jacket, thought to have been between 11.05am and 11.10am at a shop in Cornhill.

That same day, a 67-year-old woman had her purse stolen from an open-top shopping bag between 11.45am and 12.15pm, which is thought to have happened at a shop in Charter Square.

Inspector Jane Hertzog, local policing commander for Bury St Edmunds, said although these two incidents were a setback, the number of thefts was reducing.

Anyone with information should call the Bury Central SNT on 101.



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

East Anglian Air Ambulance

A chimney sweeper remains in a critical condition with spinal injuries after falling from a roof in Combs yesterday.

Will  Ian Cumming be crowned Bake Off Champion 2015 tonight?

Tonight marks the grand final of the Great British Bake Off and viewers will watch as Ian Cumming, Nadiya Hussain and Tamal Ray battle it out for the Bake Off crown.

Hattie Lewis holding 'Mr Ted' 
He went missing on Wednesday, September 30

A desperate mum is calling on the residents of Sudbury to help her find a missing teddy bear belonging to her four-year-old daughter.

Call for tightening of UK border controls

Suffolk’s “horrified” Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has demanded EU border control reforms after a convicted paedophile banned from the UK was jailed again for returning to work with teenagers.

Stock image.

Fifteen tonnes of concrete blocks fell out of a lorry after it crashed in a ditch in Suffolk.

Highpoint Prison in Stradishall, Suffolk.

A BB gun and ammunition were found by an inmate at a prison in Suffolk.

Newborn baby

Expectant fathers can now be on hand to comfort their partners during early labour in a move to reduce stress and anxiety for mums-to-be.

Stock image.

A motorist is in a critical condition in hospital after a three-vehicle collision in Suffolk yesterday.

Enjoying the sun at Needham Lake

Dog walkers will have to keep their pets on leads at a popular tourist attraction in Suffolk from next year.

Ice skating could be coming to Felixstowe this Christmas.

Negotiations are taking place to see if an ice skating rink can be set up in Felixstowe town centre as part of the resort’s Christmas attractions.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages