A CAMPAIGN to help shoppers keep their purses safe has been extended to Thirsk.

Hambleton and Richmondshire Community Safety Partnership has joined forces with police to distribute purse chains to local residents - almost 200 were handed out in Northallerton over Christmas.

The chains attach the purse to the owner’s bag, deterring would be thieves and alerting the shopper who feel a tug when a thief tries to strike.

Acting Inspector Neil Northend said: "Incidents of purse thefts are increasing, particularly on market days and during lunchtime shopping.

"While Hambleton continues to be a safe place to shop, we want to remind people to stay vigilant, keep their handbags zipped up and purses out of sight and consider using a purse chain."

Chains are available to anyone over 50 or to vulnerable members of the community living in Northallerton or Thirsk - they can be collected from the town’s police stations.