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Handbags hot property for thieves

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In the last year 400,000 women have had handbags stolen from cars, it was has been revealed.

According to research from insurance company Diamond the value of the bags and their contents totalled £178 million, so it would be wise to check that your car insurance covers content.

The research shows that the average value of a handbag and its contents is £431 before replacing any car and house keys.

Items worth the most were sunglasses and mobile phones, while the average cost of the handbag was £51 and a majority of bags contain £50 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."

© Press Association 2008