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Handbag thefts from cars cost £178m

More than 400,000 women have had handbags stolen from cars in the last 12 months, it was revealed today.

The value of the bags and their contents came to around £178 million, according to research from insurance company Diamond.

The average cost of a handbag and its contents is more than £431, and that figure excludes the cost of replacing car and house keys.

Sunglasses and mobile phones were the biggest-value items likely to be in handbags, while the bag itself was likely to be around £51, with owners carrying an average of £50 in cash.

Diamond managing director Sian Lewis said: "It's shocking to see just how many handbags are stolen each year from cars, and that shows exactly why you should never leave your bag on display in your car.

"In the run-up to the festive season, thieves will be on the look-out for easy targets so, however stressed-out and rushed you are to find that perfect present, you should never leave anything on show in your unattended car that could attract a potential thief."