Warning to women as bag snatchers strike

A STRING of attacks in Paddington has seen thieves target women for their handbags

Susanna Wilkey

A STRING of attacks in Paddington has seen thieves target women for their handbags.

Several women have fallen prey to snatchers who catch them unawares, grab their bags and quickly make off.

Last Wednesday alone saw four incidents in the area in the space of a few hours.

At 4pm a woman and her two friends walked outside Royal Oak underground station onto Lord Hills Bridge.

A man ran up behind the woman and snatched her handbag which contained cash, a camera and a mobile phone and made off.

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He was aged about 30 and of dark European appearance.

Another woman was targeted on Westbourne Park Villas at around 9pm when two teenagers rode up on bikes and snatched her bag.

She had walked from Chepstow Road and entered the street when a white boy aged about 13 on a BMX style bike approached her from behind demanding she move out of the way.

A second boy, also white and around 13, then rode by also on a BMX style bike and grabbed her handbag containing cash, bank cards, watch and mobile phone.

As the two teenagers made off, another five or six youths rode by on bikes. Inspector Amanda Glennon said: "Always be aware of your surroundings when you leave a tube or railway station or bus.

"It is advisable to keep valuable property out of view - or be aware if taking out your wallet/purse or using your mobile phone/MP3 player whilst in public areas.

"Thieves may take advantage of persons who are distracted when talking on the phone or using MP3s.

"It is advisable to record the numbers/details of your bank cards, phones and other valuable property which can help if you have to report stolen items or in tracing items that are later recovered by police."

A man was targeted in Kilburn Lane at around 11.30pm as he was entering a shop with his wallet in his hand.

He was walking towards the shop when a teenager approached him on a bike, snatched the wallet and rode off.

The boy was white, aged around 15, 5ft8ins and had short black hair.

In another incident on Westbourne Terrace Road a woman was targeted but managed to hold onto her bag.

She was walking from Warwick Avenue tube station at around 9pm when a group of four teenagers on bikes, all of whom were aged around 14, came up from behind.

One tried to grab her handbag but she struggled and managed to keep hold of it and the group made off empty handed towards Delamere Terrace.

Anyone with any information about these crimes should call Westminster police on 020-7321 8511 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.