POLICE are cracking down on sneak thieves who prey on people - particularly the elderly - as they shop in a busy town centre.

Officers in Thirsk have joined forces with the local Community Safety Partnership in a campaign to educate people about the risks they face.

It follows a series of purse thefts which have all occurred without the owner realising.

In the last 12 months, there have been 15 such incidents and they have mainly happened on market days, Monday and Saturday, when the town is at its busiest.

The campaign will involve police and community support officers working in conjunction with Hambleton District Council, Broadacres Housing Association, the Post Office, local charity shops and cafes and the local Shopwatch organisation.

PC Frances Hannan, of the town's Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "Thirsk is no different to any other similar-sized market town when it comes to such thefts.

"What we and our partners are aiming to achieve is to help people to help themselves to protect their personal property.

"The advice will stand individual members of the public in good stead wherever they go."