Bells to deter picketpockets available for free to Bromley shoppers

PUBLISHED: 12:35 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:35 18 February 2020

Helen Andrews, community safety support officer, with the bells outside Alice’s Attic charity shop. Picture: Safer Bromley Partnership

Helen Andrews, community safety support officer, with the bells outside Alice’s Attic charity shop. Picture: Safer Bromley Partnership


Free bells for purses and wallets are being given to shoppers in town centres as a warning that pickpocket thieves are about.

The anti-theft device is supposed to alert the owners that their cash and cards are being lifted.

The bells are provided by the Safer Bromley Partnership and are available free from a whole variety of charity shops in Bromley, Beckenham and Orpington.

Bromley Council said the bells act as an audible alert to customers if a purse or wallet is disturbed as well as acting as a deterrent to pickpockets. It's hoped they will drop their theft attempt and flee when the bell rings.

Customers picking up a bell from one of the shops are encouraged to make a small donation to charity.

Councillor Kate Lymer, the cxecutive councillor for public protection and enforcement, said often the simplest idea can be the most cost effective and efficient.

She said: "It's easy to become distracted when browsing for shopping. "hat's why the Safer Bromley Partnership aims to keep customers safe and is issuing free bells for purses and wallets to raise awareness."

Pickpockets often prey on the elderly and vulnerable in crowded shops but everyone needs to be wary, particularly in shopping centres and high streets where there are many distractions, the council said.

To ensure you don't become yet another victim of this frustrating crime, the advice is to follow a few simple suggestions.

These including keeping purses secure and carry them in an inside pocket; zip up hand and shoulder bags; carry bags in front of you with flaps against your body; keep straps short and bags tucked under your arm; don't display jewellery and don't show your money — keep it safely in your pocket and away from probing light fingers.

For more, search crime prevention and community safety on or visit

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