PURSE bells which have been lapped up by Barnsley shoppers to combat thefts in the busy run up to Christmas are having the desired impact, police have said.

The free bells have been offered to shoppers at Barnsley Police Station and are fitted onto a bag or a purse. Sergeant Steph Coverley told a crime meeting yesterday that although a limited supply remain, officers have noted a reduction in thefts in the town centre.

She said: “We’ve had one purse theft in the last month which is good for this time of the year when it’s busier. Hopefully this will continue and we won’t see a spike towards Christmas.”

Town centre police have warned they’re carrying out plain-clothed patrols at busy spots to catch would-be thieves in the act.

Sgt Coverley added: “Unfortunately it is the season where we see an increase in thieves targeting people for their purses and valuables. Often the simplest methods of crime prevention are the best that’s why we’ve got purse bells available for anyone who would like one. If you pop along to Barnsley Police Station and speak to the front desk you can pick one up, although there’s a limited supply remaining.”