A leading car insurance firm has advised women to be more protective over their handbag during the run-up to Christmas.
Research by Diamond found that 400,000 British women had their handbag stolen from inside their vehicle in the last year, with the total value of these thefts estimated at £178 million.
The average value of a handbag belonging to a UK woman, and its contents, has been calculated to be £431.68.
Females are now being warned to detract potential thieves and ensure they do not leave anything visible in their car while during the "stressed" Christmas period.
Sian Lewis, managing director of Diamond, said it was "shocking" to see "how many handbags are stolen each year from cars".
"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," she added.
A recent study by imotormag.co.uk found that grey cars are the most likely to have to receive roadside assistance, with one in three experiencing problems each year.
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