Pickpockets target young women in Leeds, figures reveal

13 November 2015.......        Leeds Christmas Market, Millennium Square, Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson
13 November 2015....... Leeds Christmas Market, Millennium Square, Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson
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Women are 30 per cent more likely than men to be a victim of pickpocketing in Leeds during the festive season, according to new research.

Shoppers, particularly women, are being urged to remain vigilant this December as the high streets get busier with people grabbing their last minute Christmas shopping.

Figures sourced from West Yorkshire Police through a request under the Freedom of Information Act by home insurer Policy Expert revealed that out of the 373 recorded cases of pickpocket thefts in Leeds last year, 233 of these were from women.

In addition, some 70 per cent of incidents - 261 overall - involved a male or female victim aged 18 to 30.

Mobile phones were the by far the most popular item stolen by opportunistic thieves, with 255 cases last year.

In second place were bank cards, driving licences and travel cards, with 53 stolen.

Some 31 purses and wallets were taken, and there were nine cases of jewellery and watches being pickpocketed.

More unusually, one musical instrument was stolen along with one piece of art.

The figures also revealed that January 1 is one of the days thieves are most likely to strike while thrifty shoppers make the most of the January sales.

Adam Powell, head of operations at Policy Expert said: “It’s easy to get distracted by the festivities as the streets and public transport get busier over the Christmas period, but it’s important to ensure you’re not a target for thieves.

“Keep an eye on your shopping, bags and any other valuables and be vigilant.

“Also consider checking your home insurance policy includes away from home cover – this will reimburse you should a personal possession be lost or stolen while out of the house. The last thing you want is for thieves to spoil your Christmas.”

Read more tips for staying safe over Christmas on the West Yorkshire Police website at westyorkshire.police.uk