Undercover police officers patrolled Aylesbury town centre in an operation to raise awareness of pick pockets.
The officers singled out individuals whose bags were visible and easily accessible in order to insert a warning slip saying, ‘I could have stolen your purse today’.
PC Glen Crosland said: “I don’t want it to become a big problem in Aylesbury.
“The purpose of this is to try to raise awareness.”
Tinemui Desilua was out shopping in H&M when she was targeted by police.
She said: “I’ll make sure to pay more attention in the future. I wasn’t aware and my bag was unzipped.”
Christine Grey was in Sainsbury’s when police targeted her.
She said: “I’ll make sure to zip up my bag.
“I was very much surprised with how easily these things can be done, I wasn’t paying attention because of the distraction of children.”
Also in Sainsbury’s, Linda Stevens was reaching up to collect some bread when the police officer got into her bag.
She said: “I’m very shocked and will be more careful in the future. I’m too trustworthy and just wasn’t paying attention.”
PC Claire Furness was one of the undercover officers.
She said: “This exercise just shows you the precautions people need to take when out in public.
“ Simply forgetting to zip your bag up or when distracted by shopping and children, it would be so easy for someone to quickly get into your bag.”