Newham police warn of ‘dips’, ‘blockers’ and ‘pushers’ in fight against pick-pockets

Police are urging residents, visitors and commuters to be vigilant when travelling in and around Newham.

Pickpockets are a nuisance so keep your possessions close. This type of criminal has a number of ways of taking your possessions, said a spokesman.

Favoured thieving methods are:

* A lone ‘dip’ operating under cover of a jacket, newspaper or bag.

* Group surrounding and jostling their prey.

* Gangs of four using someone as a ‘blocker’, a ‘pusher’ and a ‘dipper’.

* Distraction – spill their drink, apologise and steal their property.

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* Bag slasher – in crowded trains and lifts. Teams of two to four surround their target and cut strap of a bag or slit the bag itself – not so common.

In short protect your property and beat pickpockets. Almost all thefts can be easily prevented by taking a few simple precautions. Remember to report stolen property to police, but be aware that reporting an item as being stolen if it has been lost is a criminal offence.

Here are some tips to remember when travelling:

* Keep purses secure, carry wallets in an inside pocket. Keep your possessions with you. If travelling on public transport, try to have your ticket, pass or change ready in your hand so your purse or wallet is out of sight.

* Never keep your wallet or mobile phone in your back pocket.

* Don’t display jewellery.

* Don’t show your money; keep it safely in your pocket.

* Stay alert, especially in large crowds.