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Martlesham Heath: Appeal for shoppers to be on their guard after distraction thefts in Tesco car park

PUBLISHED: 12:50 02 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:50 02 April 2014

Thefts at tesco

Thefts at tesco

Police are today calling on shoppers and motorists to be on their guard following a string of distraction thefts.

The latest incident happened in the Tesco car park in Martlesham Heath between 11.05am and 11.10am on Monday.

A 52-year-old woman returned to her vehicle after shopping at the store and noticed a red ‘old-style’ Ford Fiesta parked next to her car.

A man in the Fiesta asked her for directions on a map so the woman went to the window to help.

Later, the woman realised two of her bank cards had been taken from her bag and had been used to withdraw cash from her account.

This incident has followed a string of similar crimes in recent weeks.

At the same car park on the afternoon of Friday, March 7, a 75-year-old woman had her bank card stolen and used after being distracted by a man who told her she had a nail in her car’s tyre.

The man has been described as white, with a tanned complexion, in his 20s, of slight build, with short dark hair and a distinctive foreign accent.

He distracted her by pretending to pull the nail out.

Police believe that on both occasion the offenders had previously observed the victim entering their PIN, either at a checkout or at a cashpoint and they are now calling on people to take extra care.

A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Police are urging you to be careful to cover your hand when entering PIN numbers, and to stand in such a way that no one can see the digits you’re entering.

“Police are also reminding you to be vigilant for this type of scam and to alert officers immediately, using 999, if you suspect a crime is in progress, in a bid to catch those responsible.

“A number of distraction techniques have been used and police are asking you to be careful if you are approached and to make sure you keep a close eye on your valuables.”

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