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4 March 2014, 06:10
Police in Southampton are warning that gangs of men are targeting people who have got too drunk on nights out and robbing them.
They say a they are investigating a number of reports over the past month where people are being made to hand over money at cashpoints or having their phones stolen around London Road.
Specifically, officers have been made aware of instances of people being approached by groups of men and intimidated into handing over money. This has been occurring late at night, when many people are out on the street having spent time in the areas pubs and clubs.
Detective Sergeant Gavin Jordan from Shirley CID said:
"Certainly when you've had a lot of alcohol to drink you become a lot more willing to start speaking to people that you don't really know, and are more likely go along with what you're being told. It's those sort of people that are being targeted."
The incidents are being investigated and officers are reminding people to consider the following tips before heading out:
· Plan how you are going to get home in advance – designate a sober driver.
· If you are hiring a taxi, ensure that it is a legitimate one and only share it with people that you trust.
· Be vigilant when using cashpoint machines late at night. Take care not to reveal your PIN and be aware of who is around you.
· Take the same common sense precautions you would do if you were at home.
· Don’t flash your stuff. Be discreet when using mobile phones in public to avoid drawing attention to yourself and your possessions.
· Only take with you what is necessary. Don’t be tempted to carry unnecessary cash and valuables such as cameras and laptops if you have no intention of using them.
· When out on your own, don’t be tempted to take shortcuts through parks, alleys or subways. Stick to well-lit, busy streets.
· Don’t walk home on your own late at night. Walk with a friend, book a taxi or use public transport.
· If you suspect trouble, walk away.
· Know your limits and be responsible if you go out drinking. You are more likely to put yourself at risk if you are under the influence of alcohol.
· Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks.
· Don’t accept drinks from people you do not know and never leave a drink unattended.
· Go out in a group and watch out for each other during the night. Make sure you all get home safely.
· Never walk home alone if you have been drinking alcohol.
If you’ve been a victim of one of these incidents, or have information about who is responsible, contact Southampton CID on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.