Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°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

Tributes have been paid to 31-year-old Lee Pennycuick who died on Friday

The father of a popular Sunday league football player who died suddenly at the age of 31 has described his caring son as someone who would never walk by when others needed help.

Lily Alexander, aged 4, with Dad Judge Dredd from Bury St Edmunds
- Mark Westley Photography

Stormtroopers marched the streets of Bury St Edmunds this weekend as Moyse’s Hall unveiled its acclaimed annual science fiction exhibition.

Ivy Pound at Sudbury Cancer Reasearch UK shop
with buskers who have won an award,  Joe Snell ( left ) and Toby Halls 

Teenage heroes Joe Snell and Toby Halls discovered yesterday they will get the chance to record at the world-famous Maida Vale music studios in London after winning a BBC Radio 1 Teen Hero Award.

Celebrate Halloween at events across Suffolk.

It’s nearly Halloween and there is a variety of events across Suffolk this half term to keep your little monsters entertained no matter what their age.

A house fire in Kirby Cross is believed to have started in a tumble dryer

Firefighters tackled a house fire in Kirby Cross this afternoon.

Police were deployed to the scene

An armed police officer was called to Kesgrave as a safety precaution after a report was received of an injured dog today.

Jonathon Porritt - Friends of the Earth director by Sizewell A April 1986

Plans for Sizewell C are doomed to “evaporate” in the wake of insurmountable problems that will prevent its intended forerunner at Hinkley Point ever producing electricity, one of Britain’s leading environmentalists has predicted.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists

Don't miss


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24