EXTRA bobbies are on the beat in Cowes to foil the plans of any opportunist thieves who may be hoping to target the regatta.

A dedicated operation has been launched to prevent a repeat of last year’s purse theft scam.

There are increased police foot and cycle patrols in Cowes, while sailors are being warned to be extra vigilant and not leave valuables unattended onboard vessels.

Inspector Paul Savill said: “Extra officers in Cowes means the level of policing across the rest of the island will not be affected so we can protect our commitment to tackling antisocial behaviour this summer.”

Last year the sailing event was hit by a scam in which purses were snatched and the victims were later called by men claiming to be from the bank or police in a bid to obtain PIN numbers for the stolen cards.

Specialist officers will be working with staff from Isle of Wight Council to carry out licensing checks at pubs and clubs and street pastors will be returning to the Island to add reassurance.