BASILDON police are warning shoppers to be on the lookout after a spate of purse dippings.

Four people, including a pensioner and a new mum, have had purses and mobile phones stolen in Basildon and Wickford town centres, in the past week.

One woman had her £500 iPhone stolen from her child’s pram as she walked through Basildon town centre.

Police are unsure if a gang is operating in the area because so far only one victim has been able to give a description of a suspect.

Angie Torrance, station sergeant at Basildon police station, said: “We sometimes get spates of these kinds of thefts in our town centres.

“We are currently investigating if these incidents are linked and if they are being committed by an organised group of people or if they are opportunist offences.

“In the meantime, we have issued crime prevention advice to the public so they can keep themselves safe.”

A 60-year-old woman from Basildon had her purse stolen from her handbag as she walked in Market Pavement, at about 10.10am on May 9.

The woman was carrying her bag on her arm and had put her purse in the bag, but had not zipped it up.

The purse contained £39.

A 33-year-old man had his £500 iPhone mobile phone stolen from his pocket in Basildon town centre at about 3.15pm on May 7.

A 54-year-old woman’s purse was taken out of her handbag at about 2pm on May 9.

Her bag was hanging on a shopping trolley as she shopped in the Card Factory, in Wickford. The purse contained £37.

The woman told police the thief was dark skinned, with dark hair and was wearing a cardigan.

Thieves stole a £500 Apple iPhone out of a pushchair in Town Square, Basildon, at about noon on May 10.