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Suffolk: Police warn shoppers after women in 80s targeted in distraction scams in supermarket car parks

20:00 19 February 2014

Police are warning residents to be aware of a phone scam

Police are warning residents to be aware of a phone scam

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Police are warning shoppers in Suffolk to be aware of distraction scams after two women in their 80s were targeted in supermarket car parks in the last two weeks.

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Officers at Suffolk Constabulary are urging shoppers to be “vigilant” and make older family members aware of these “distraction ploys”.

In the first incident, a man and his female accomplice targeted a woman in her early 80s at a Co-op store car park in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe.

The victim’s purse was stolen in the incident between noon and 1pm on February 7.

She put her purse on the top of one of her shopping bags which she was loading in to the boot of her car when the man and woman approached and asked for help.

The man held a map, got very close to her and pointed at various locations. The woman he was with spoke to him in a foreign language.

Later the victim noticed her purse was missing.

The man is described as in his mid 20s to mid 30s, with dark brown short and wavy hair, of medium build, around 5ft 7ins tall and was wearing a navy blue suit.

The woman is described as being attractive, around 5ft 8ins tall, of slim build with dark brown shoulder length wavy hair, with dark eyes and a dark or tanned complexion. She was wearing a long beige coloured coat and distinctive beige coloured brimmed hat. It is thought a third man may have been with them.

Meanwhile, the bank cards of an 80-year-old woman were stolen in another suspected distraction theft in the car park of a Tesco store in Anson Road, Martlesham, last Thursday evening.

A man approached the woman while she was loading her bags in to the boot of her car, telling her there was a nail in one of her car tyres.

The woman then realised a car door was open which should not have been. She closed it and returned to the boot. The man stood with a nail in his hand and said it was “now okay” before leaving.

The woman later discovered her bank cards had been taken from her purse left in the boot.

The man is described as white, possibly in his 30s, of slim build, around 5ft 10ins tall, with a full head of slightly curly hair. He was polite and spoke with a foreign accent.

In Norfolk, police have received similar reports of supermarket car park distraction thefts in the last two weeks.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “Police are asking shoppers to be vigilant and for you to make any older friends, neighbours or relatives aware of these distraction ploys.

“Please keep a close eye on your purse, wallet, handbag, etc, and always be careful when entering your PIN at cashpoints or at store checkouts so that no one can see what numbers you are putting in.

“If you are approached, or see something, and suspect a crime may be in progress please alert police using 999.”

Call police on 101.

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Detective Chief Inspector Barry Byford, of Suffolk Constabulary, said the reports of sexual offences in Ipswich south west were reflective of an increase in this crime area both in Suffolk and nationally.

The number of violent and sexual crimes being reported in south west Ipswich has more than quadrupled over the past two years.

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