Do you know what distraction theft is? Redbridge Police tell you how to stay safe this Christmas

If a stranger speaks to you, barges into your or even falls down in front of you, they may be a thief trying to steal your belongings, police have warned.

During the Christmas period busy shopping areas act as magnets to pick-pockets, many of who distract shoppers while they steal their belongings.

One typical example is a thief saying that you have dropped a note to get your attention before stealing your wallet or purse.

Det Supt Ellie O’Connor, of Redbridge Police, said: “Thefts of your valuables through pickpocket offending causes you distress and upset.

“The loss is often of photographs and receipts which cannot be replaced.”

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If you think you are being distracted call for help of store staff or police at the time. “

She says that you should try and stay aware of what is going on around you at all times and keep wallets in a front inside pocket of your jacket or coat.

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Finally, she added, be careful when taking money out of a cash machine, particularly if someone offers to help you.

Never give your PIN to anyone including your bank or the police.

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