Police officers have issued a warning to Christmas shoppers after purse thieves have been operating across five South Cheshire town centres.
A total of six women have had their purses stolen from the Cheshire towns over the past week. All of the victims are over 60 and one is 90.
In the majority of the cases, bank cards within the purses were subsequently fraudulently used by the thieves.
Officers have now released a warning ahead of the festive rush.
Superintendent Pete Crowcroft, of Cheshire Police, said: “The incidents occurred in Macclesfield and Nantwich on Thursday, in Sandbach on Tuesday and in Crewe, Nantwich and Northwich on Friday, December 4.
“Victims were targeted in supermarkets, as they queued up to use cash machines and as they were walking around shopping areas.
“Some were distracted and some were bumped into before realising that their purses had been stolen.
“Others have no idea how their purses were stolen from them.
“This type of crime tends to be more prevalent in the run up to Christmas, with busy shopping areas representing an ideal opportunity for thieves to strike.
“Enquiries in relation to the incidents are ongoing and I urge anyone with any information regarding purse thefts to get in touch.
“I also encourage everyone, particularly the elderly as purse thieves usually target the elderly, to be extra vigilant when you are out over the Christmas shopping period and to never carry around large quantities of cash.
“Please also keep an eye out for suspicious activity when you are in or around shops and report any concerns to us.”