Warning on distraction thefts after £650 stolen from two Sainsbury’s customers

Do you recognise this man?

Do you recognise this man? - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Christmas shoppers are being urged to be vigilant against distraction thefts following three incidents in supermarket car parks last month.

CCTV of one man believed to be an accomplice of the suspects

CCTV of one man believed to be an accomplice of the suspects - Credit: Archant

A total of £650 was stolen in two thefts from customers in the car park at Sainsbury’s Hadleigh Road store in Ipswich. The first incident happened on Monday, November 9 at around 1.10pm, when a woman was approached by a man asking for change. During this time it is believed that the suspect stole bank cards from the victim’s purse.

It was later discovered that £500 had been fraudulently withdrawn from the victim’s bank account.

CCTV pictures show a man, believed to an accomplice of the suspect, using the victim’s bank card to make a withdrawal from a cashpoint at the store at 1.15pm. It is possible that the victim was watched whilst using her card at the supermarket checkout and the PIN noted by the suspects.

The second incident took place on Tuesday, November 24 at around 11.15am, when an elderly woman was approached by a man asking for change to call the AA. Whilst the victim was giving him change he stole £150 for her purse.

It is believed that the same suspects are involved in both incidents.

On Monday, November 23, at around midday, an 80-year-old woman was sitting in her car in the car park of Tesco, Fordham Road, Newmarket, when she was approached by a man and woman asking for directions. Whilst the lady was giving directions it is believed that the woman stole bank cards from the victim’s purse. Later, £300 was fraudulently withdrawn from the victim’s bank account.

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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.

Further incidents were reported from car parks at Sainsbury’s Warren Heath and Copdock Tesco.Anybody with information should call Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference 14823/15 for Ipswich incidents, or 16604/15 for the Newmarket incident.

Suffolk Police has released the following advice to residents to help them protect their valuables when shopping in public.

- 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 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.

- 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.

- If you have a smart phone, install a mobile tracing app that helps you to trace your device if it gets lost or stolen. Contact your service provider for details on what is available.

To report information on suspicious incidents to police, contact them via the non-emergency 24-hour number 101, via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org, or by visiting www.suffolk.police.uk/safetyadvice/reportacrime/tellthepolice.aspx