Police have warned about a rise in pickpockets in Wandsworth.

Since February, reports of theft have increased in public spaces and on buses, usually in daylight hours.

Balham, Bedford, Tooting and Nightingale wards have been particularly targeted.

Items stolen include mobile phones and wallets, which victims often fail to realise are missing until sometime after the offence.

The Safer Neighbourhoods Teams for these areas are working with the Met Safer Transport Team and Wandsworth council to tackle this issue.

Toan Chung, Neighbourhoods Police Sergeant for Tooting sector said: “We are aware of the public concern in relation to the spate of pick pocket thefts. We want to reassure you that we have increased our patrols of hot spot areas, we are conducting plain clothed patrols in the areas affected and are stopping and searching where grounds exist.

“We encourage the public to report such thefts to us so that we can continue to build intelligence around this crime trend. Furthermore, we ask that instead of posting photographs of potential suspects online, that you pass it to police directly so that we can record the information appropriately and take action where we can.”

Cllr Jonathan Cook, chairman of the Wandsworth Safer Neighbourhood Board, said: "The council's community safety team are working closely with local police safer neighbourhood teams to put a stop to these crimes. Wandsworth is the safest inner London borough and we want to keep it that way so please do your bit and report any crimes directly to the police."

To prevent yourself from being a victim of pick pocket theft police advise you:

• Keep purses and bags closed and secure at all times

• Carry bags in front of you or diagonally across your chest

• Return cards to your purse or wallet quickly and zip it up or button it

• Conceal your wallet in a buttoned or zipped pocket where it doesn’t bulge

• Don’t hang items on the back of a chair or pushchair.

• Don’t leave belongings out of sight on the floor.

For advice on how pickpockets operate and more information on how to prevent personal theft, click here.

If you become a victim of pickpocketing and witness the offender committing the theft, call 999 and provide a description of the offender(s). If you do not witness the offender, but find that you have been a victim of pick pocketing, you can report the offence to us by either calling 101, or reporting online here.