Residents warned about distraction thefts

RESIDENTS are being warned to be on their guard after a string of distraction thefts.

Incidents have been reported across the county, including one which took place in the Morrisons car park in Royston.

In the majority of cases the victim was approached by a man or a couple in a supermarket car park. They tell the victim they have dropped �10. The offender then helps the victim put the money in their purse, stealing their bank card at the same time. In some cases the offenders distracted the victim with a map, whilst they stole their wallet or purse.

The Royston incident took place on October 15 in the supermarket car park, on Princes Mews. A woman in her 60s was approached, and did not realise the card was stolen until several days later, by which time it had been used several times to remove in excess of �2,000.

Offences have also taken place in several other towns in Hertfordshire, including Letchworth and Bishop’s Stortford.

Scott Whitlock, from Herts Police, said: “We believe the offenders may obtain the victim’s pin number whilst they are in store and then follow then into the car park.

‘‘In one case �750 was removed from the victim’s account before the victim realised her card had been stolen.

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“We must ensure people are aware of this trick so I’d urge people to be vigilant and, because we find that older people are being targeted, to make their elderly friends and relatives aware.”

Anyone with information on the crimes, or who thinks they may have been a victim themselves, should contact Herts Police on 101.