Police have stepped up patrols in St Neots after hundreds of pounds were stolen from shoppers in the town yesterday (December 8).

The first incident took place between 11am and 11.30am when the purse of a 79-year-old woman was taken from her handbag, without her knowledge, in High Street, St Neots.

The purse contained about £630 cash as well as numerous debit and credit cards.

Between 12pm and 12.15pm thieves took another purse from the handbag of a 76-year-old woman, also in High Street.

The purse contained about £160 cash and credit and debit cards which were immediately used to withdraw a further £1,100 in cash.

PC Carl Harris said: "We would like to reassure people that extra patrols are being carried out across the town and stores are being made aware of these two incidents.

"I would ask that people out shopping this Christmas remain vigilant. Consider using a handbag with a strap over the shoulder and ensure your purse or wallet is in a zipped up bag or inside coat pocket."

Anyone with information about the thefts should call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.