London handbag thefts prompt Christmas party warning

16:18 28 November 2012

The handbags are believed to belong to cafe and restaurants visitors in the City. Picture: City of London Police

The handbags are believed to belong to cafe and restaurants visitors in the City. Picture: City of London Police

Archant

This is a haul of handbags and purses seized from one flat in Peckham.

The 253 items, along with 10 pairs of sunglasses, are believed to have been stolen from customers at cafes, restaurants and bars in the City of London and the West End.

Detectives are now reviewing recent reports of thefts from these areas with a view to reuniting victims with their belongings.

The discovery was made by the City of London Police as the Christmas party season gets into full swing.

Sgt Grahame Mace, whose team recovered the haul, said: “Handbags often contain a number of financially valuable or sentimental items.

“Each time a handbag is stolen, women are said to face an average bill of £109 to replace the item and its contents. However, nearly one in ten women carry a bag worth £250 or more*.

“You can help prevent your handbag from being stolen by keeping it close to you – this may sound obvious but unfortunately the handbag left unattended on the back of a chair or on the floor is a prime target for an opportunist thief.”

Detectives are now working with venues in the Square Mile to raise staff and customers’ awareness of how they can prevent thefts.

Rabah Azzoug, 35, from Peckham, appeared at City of London Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with 11 counts of theft. He will re-appear in January next year.

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