CHESTER Police's beat officers have been handing out “jingle bells” to help keep shoppers' purses and valuables safe during the busy Christmas shopping period.

Officers teamed up with Chester Against Business Crime, a group linking the business community to the police and other partners to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the city, to hand the bells.

The bells clip onto the zip of a purse or wallet and act as an audible warning signal to shoppers in the event of any unexpected movement.

The officers also visited Chester Cathedral's cloisters to see more than 50 Christmas trees that are part of the Christmas Tree Festival in support of the Ultrasound Breast Care Scanner Appeal at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

Shoppers have been urged to be vigilant against thieves and “purse dippers”.

Chief Inspector Mike Evans, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “Purse dipping, particularly at this time of year, can be a perfect chance for thieves to strike therefore we need the public, especially the elderly community, to be extra vigilant.

“This type of crime tends to be target the elderly and I would remind them to take some basic preventative measures, such as keeping your bag zipped and closed at all times as well as not keeping large quantities of money in your purse.”

If you are elderly yourself or you have a friend or family member who would like a jingle bell, get in touch with your local PCSO or call 101.

Anyone who sees someone acting suspiciously around others or has any information is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101.