Lingerie becomes the new weapon against thieves

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The Independent Online

A money belt disguised as lingerie and a laptop case with an alarm as loud as a jet plane taking off were among a range of fashion accessories unveiled yesterday that are designed to protect the wearer against street crime.

The "stealth belt", which is made of cotton and elastane, can carry a mobile phone, credit cards and keys in separate compartments, and is difficult for thieves to see.

The laptop bag can be carried across the owner's front. If an attacker pulls the bag hard, the strap detaches and triggers a 138-decibel sound – eight decibels above the level that causes pain.

The range includes the "phone safe", a mobile phone holder that looks like a sweatband from a distance, and half a dozen bags and rucksacks with features such as rolling Velcro tops and stretch hoods to stop thieves getting access. Some have tough layers inserted to make them slash-proof, and extendable wire clips and steel coils with combination locks to allow them to be secured to furniture in venues such as pubs.

Research for the range, which will be marketed as Karrysafe, was undertaken by the Metropolitan Police, the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

Sergeant Paul Donlevey, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "This is the first time that anyone has tried to make crime prevention fashionable."