CCTV footage of a woman who stole seven purses in Kidderminster town centre was featured on BBC's Crimewatch programme last night.

It showed the offender strolling through the town, rifling through a victim's purses. The thefts took place on Saturday, March 17, mainly around the Worcester Street and Swan centre areas, and the victims were of all ages, ranging from women in their 30s to pensioners.

PC Garry Burns of Kidderminster Police said: "We have carried out extensive inquiries locally, but have not been able to trace the offender.

"We have therefore come to the conclusion she is probably not local, and are hoping the national coverage on Crimewatch will lead to someone recognising her.

"It will also highlight the problem of these types of crime across the country and hopefully remind people to be vigilant while they are shopping and take steps to protect their purses."

None of the victims realised their purses had been taken at the time, although one told police she was aware of a girl bumping into her.

The offender is described as white, in her late teens, with dark hair, and was described by one witness as attractive.

The latest in a series of purse thefts in Kidderminster town centre happened between 2pm and 3pm last Wednesday, June 20 in Morrison's, Oxford Street.

A woman in her 70s had her purse, containing £25, a bus pass, and bank card, taken from her bag while it was on a trolley.

Free purse alarms can be obtained from Kidderminster Police Station front counter and the management suite at the Swan shopping centre.

Shoppers are advised to consider keeping their purse or wallet in an inside coat pocket or in a bum bag worn around the waist with the bag at the front, rather than a handbag.

Handbags should be kept zipped up or firmly fastened and push the purse to the bottom of the bag or place it in an inner compartment every time it is used.

Police also recommend not carrying large amounts of cash and never keeping PIN numbers with bank cards.

Witnesses or anyone with information about purse thefts are asked to contact Kidderminster Police on 08457 444888 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.