SHOPPERS are being reminded to keep their bags and purses zipped up to avoid any thefts.

Essex Police has set up Operation Erupt to help give crime prevention tips to people out in shopping centres and High Streets during the festive period.

Officers will be out in Chelmsford city centre handing out chains which can attach purses and wallets to handbags and make it impossible to be snatched by crooks without others knowing.

A table will also be set up inside the High Chelmer shopping centre handing out the chains to shoppers.

Pc Michelle Barber said: “Extra patrols are taking place in the city centre and police officers and PCSOs will be handing out leaflets and reminding people to zip up their bags.

“We are targeting those people who come into Chelmsford specifically to steal and ask that if you see someone acting suspiciously please call police immediately.”

Advice is also being given out about keeping mobile phones close to you if out in a club or pub over Christmas to prevent them from being stolen.