A FESTIVE crime-fighting initiative is set to be launched in a bid to protect shoppers from thieves.
Jingle Bells is an annual campaign run by the Safer Hartlepool Partnership to deter crooks and cut crime over the busy Christmas period.
Police and community safety staff will be giving away free jingle bells to festive shoppers in a bid to stamp out thefts.
They can be attached to bags and purses to make them harder to steal as owners will be quickly alerted if they are grabbed.
Police say that while shops have never been safer, unscrupulous pickpockets see the run-up to Christmas as a chance to take advantage of more people being out and about.
The bells will be handed out in the town’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre between 11am and 1pm on Thursday, December 1, when crime prevention advice will also be available.
PC Steve Cranston, a crime prevention officer in Hartlepool, said: “We have launched the jingle bell initiative year on year as it is extremely popular and a cost effective way of giving shoppers the tools to stay one step ahead of crime.
“I would urge anyone in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre on December 1 to visit us and collect their jingle bell.”