Police warn of distraction thefts in Suffolk car parks

Sussex Police
Sussex Police
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Suffolk Police are issuing another warning for the public to be vigilant about distraction thefts, especially in supermarket car parks, in the run up to Christmas.

Several incidents have been reported in recent weeks, two in the Sainsbury’s supermarket car park in Hadleigh Road, Ipswich.

The first happened at around 1.10pm on November 9 when a woman was thought to have had bank cards stolen form her purse after being approached by a man asking for change.

She later discovered that £500 had been fraudulently withdrawn from her account and police say it is possible she was watched while using her card at the supermarket checkout and her PIN noted.

The second happened at around 11.15am on November 24 when an elderly woman had £150 stolen from her purse after being approached by a man asking for change to phone the AA.

Police believe the same suspects are involved in both incidents.

CCTV pictures show a man, believed to an accomplice of the suspect, using the victim’s bank card to make a fraudulent withdrawal from the cashpoint at Sainsbury’s at 1.15pm on November 9.

Another distraction theft took place in the Tesco car park in Fordham Road, Newmarket, around midday on November 23.

An 80-year-old woman was sitting in her car when she was approached by a man and woman asking for directions. It is believed the woman stole bank cards from the victim’s purse and £300 was fraudulently withdrawn from the elderly victim’s bank account.

Again, it is possible the victim was watched while using her card at the supermarket cashpoint.

The man is described as 5ft tall, in his late thirties, with dark hair.

The woman is believed to be 4ft 10in tall, in her late thirties, with long dark hair.

Both are described as speaking with foreign accents.

Witnesses and anybody with information are asked to call Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference 14823/15 for Ipswich incidents, or reference 16604/15 for the Newmarket incident.

Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or through its online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Suffolk Police advise taking the following steps to protect your valuables:

* Be vigilant when entering your PIN - make sure you cover the keypad on both chip and pin machines and at cash points every time you enter your PIN number

* Be aware of who is around you and make sure people stay a good distance away from you.

* Don’t let anyone distract you while you are using the cash machine or making a card payment. Cancel the transaction if you are worried.

* Be aware of who is around you and make sure people stay a good distance away from you.

* Keep your valuables secure - never leave them unattended, even for few moments. Keep your belongings tucked away safely in a zipped pocket or bag and use a purse chain if you have one.

* Report stolen cards - if you lose your wallet, report it to your bank immediately.

* Mobile phone tracking - if you have a smart phone install the app that helps you trace your device if it gets lost or stolen. Contact your service provider for details on what is available.