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Bruges police issue warning over pigeon poo pickpockets
Pickpockets in Bruges have come up with a new method to distract their victims - and it involves fake pigeon poo.
Police in the tourist hotspot say that, in at least two recently reported cases, a passer-by spilled or sprayed a white liquid over their target's clothing.
They then approached the victim to say that a pigeon had made a mess - and offered to help wipe it clean, while also helping themselves to their wallet.
Local police spokeswoman Lien Depoorter urged anyone who has fallen foul of the trick to come forward and file a formal complaint. She said police in Bruges were currently only aware of two cases but that it could be more widespread.
"If you notice what looks like pigeon droppings on your clothes, or if someone comes up to offer help spontaneously, don't just look up at the sky, but take a good look around you," she said.
A similar technique was already reported last year. In May, two pickpockets of Cuban origin who distracted their targets by spraying them with suncream were sentenced to 10 months in prison and a €4,000 fine.