CHRISTMAS shoppers were yesterday warned to be on the lookout for pickpockets.
As the hustle and bustle of the festive season is about to reach fever pitch, thieves will be mingling with families who are out and about to buy gifts.
Crooks will be looking for opportunities to stalk their victims before dipping into their handbags to snatch their purse or valuables.
In recent years, pickpockets have targeted areas in Paisley which are busy with festive shoppers, including High Street, Moss Street and Causeyside Street.
In some cases, pensioners were stalked after they had visited a bank to make a withdrawal from a cash machine.
Last night, police urged shoppers to be on their guard against cold-hearted crooks who are on the lookout for easy targets.
One officer told On The Beat: “This type of crime is despicable. Many victims have been in their 60s, 70s, 80s or even older and they have been left deeply distressed by what has happened to them.
“We are determined to catch the people behind these thefts. I urge members of the public to be on the alert and call us if they see someone acting suspiciously.”
Extra police officers will be out on the streets of town centres in Paisley, Johnstone, Renfrew and Barrhead during the run-up to Christmas in a bid to clamp down on crooks.
And cops will be using CCTV cameras to help them in the war on crime.
Inspector Eddie Gray said: “I would urge people to take some simple security measures when they are shopping in the town.
“These include staying alert to make sure no-one is watching you when you leave a bank or withdraw money from a cash machine.
“Also, make sure the zip on your handbag is always closed and, if you have a cheque book and bank card, keep them separate.
“Finally, I advise people not to carry large sums of money with them at any time.”