Police are clamping down on a recent spate of purse thefts that is affecting Witham and Braintree town centres.

Thieves have also been dipping into shoppers’ handbags in supermarkets and police believe a group of well-dressed females could be behind the crimes.

Sergeant Martin Richards said this is one of the most prevalent crimes police are tackling at the moment.

“In the last couple of weeks we have had numerous incidents where people have had their purses taken," he said.

“We will be conducting work to try and combat this but we would advise all members of the public on making themselves a harder target.

“Always keep your purse in a zipped handbag and don’t try to change money with people."

From 10 June, police will be working with a supermarket in Witham to encourage people to keep their belongings safe while shopping.

Anyone with any information on purse thefts should call 101.