Women in Headington are being urged to be on their guard against a cyclist who has snatched five handbags as he rode past.

Police have issued a warning after a spate of attacks in the past week. The latest was on June 5 at 9.40pm. The robber also struck on Friday at 2.45pm, twice on June 2 at about 7.10pm, and once on May 31 at 10.30pm.

One victim suffered grazes after being dragged to the ground as she tried to hold on to her bag. The items stolen include purses with cash and credit cards and mobile phones.

Dc Mark Hill, the officer leading the investigation, said: "I would urge people to be on their guard and to be aware of these crimes.

"Split your cards and cash in pockets so that you're not carrying all your valuables in your handbag. If you can, keep your handbag concealed. We're doing everything we can to catch these criminals. If you saw anything suspicious it could help our inquiries greatly if you contact us."

The thief, who is white, and of average to slim build, is between 5ft 6ins and 6ft tall. He was wearing casual clothes.

Witnesses should call Dc Hill on 08458 505505 or information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.