SHOPPERS have been warned to remain vigilant in town centre stores following a spate of thefts in Kidder-minster in just one day.

Five people reported having purses or other items taken as they shopped in Safeway and Tesco on Saturday.

It was the second Saturday running shoppers had fallen victim to thieves, with six reported thefts of purses and wallets stolen in Kidderminster stores - including Tesco, Littlewoods, Top Shop and Iceland - the previous weekend.

In the latest incidents, amounts of cash ranging from a few pounds to £150 were taken from handbags. One shopper had a mobile phone stolen from her bag. In another case, a handbag, which had been left on a trolley, was taken.

Women are believed to be responsible for the crime wave, with some victims reporting a woman brushing against them, standing close to them or starting a conversation.

Town centre beat manager, PC Clive Llewellyn, said: "In some - but not all the cases - the victims were elderly but people of any age can fall victim to this type of theft.

"In some cases, the victims have been jostled or their attention was distracted.

"We are appealing to shoppers to be extra-vigilant and to keep purses and wallets out of sight, in a secure pocket or zipped up bag.

"They also need to ensure they do not leave bags unattended, for example, on trolleys when they turn away to select items from the shelves.

"If anyone sees anything suspicious, they are asked to alert a member of staff."

Anyone with information on any of the thefts should contact police on 08457 444888 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.