With Christmas markets springing up across the country and the high street seeing a surge in visitors, shoppers are being warned not to leave themselves vulnerable to theft this Christmas.
The Christmas season has traditionally been a period where certain crimes spike - with petty theft and fraud common tactics for criminals in busy shopping areas.
Staying shopping smart will reduce the chances of being a victim of crime this Christmas.
Here Crimestoppers share their top advice for staying safe whilst shopping:
* Try to pay using a debit card rather than carrying large amounts of cash.
* Take extra care when using a cashpoint or chip and pin - cover the keypad with your hand.
* Never write down your pin number.
* If you carry a handbag, keep your purse at the bottom of it.
* Never keep your wallet in your back pocket.
* Keep your handbag zipped at all times – crowded shopping areas are very popular with pickpockets.
* Don’t leave any bags, including your handbag, in the shopping trolley while you shop.
* Stay alert when using your mobile. It’s very easy for someone to snatch it out of your hand.
* Don’t return to your car to leave purchases in the boot before continuing with your shopping, as thieves can watch in car parks.
* Don’t leave valuables on the seat of your car - they attract thieves.
* Don’t leave your house keys in your car.
A spokesperson from Crimestoppers said: ‘Historically, the crimes that tend to increase over Christmas are domestic abuse, drink driving, fraud and forgery, and handling stolen goods.
‘None of these are victimless crimes, and the knock-on effect on families and communities can be severe.
‘This is why we would always urge anyone with information to come forward to Crimestoppers, 100 per cent anonymously, safe in the knowledge that no-one will ever know who you are so you will never have to give a statement or go to court.’