Safety advice for Christmas shoppers after distraction thefts at Sainsbury’s in Ipswich and Tesco Newmarket

Man, inset, wanted over distraction thefts at Sainsbury's

Man, inset, wanted over distraction thefts at Sainsbury's - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Don’t fall victim to the thieves who are preying on vulnerable shoppers at supermarkets around Ipswich this Christmas, follow these safety tips from Suffolk police.

• 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.

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

You may also want to watch:

• 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.

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Suffolk police have issued the guidance along with a fresh warning for the public to be vigilant about distraction thefts, especially in supermarket car parks, in the run up to Christmas.

Two incidents have taken place in the car park of Sainsbury’s in Hadleigh Road, Ipswich in recent weeks.

The first happened on Monday, November 9 at around 1.10pm when a woman was approached in the car park by a man asking for change, while she was trying to help, it is believed he stole bank cards from her purse.

It was later discovered that £500 had been fraudulently withdrawn from the victim’s bank account. It is possible the victim was watched as she used her card at the supermarket checkout and the PIN noted by the suspects.

The second theft took place on Tuesday, November 24 around 11.15am when an elderly woman was approached by a man asking for change to make a phone call to 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 of these incidents.

CCTV images 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, Hadleigh Road, Ipswich shortly after the first theft.

A further incident took place on Monday, November 23 around midday in the car park of Tesco, Fordham Road, Newmarket. An 80-year-old woman was sitting in her car in the car park when she was approached by a man and woman asking for directions.

As she was giving directions it is believed that the woman stole bank cards from the victim’s purse. Later, £300 was fraudulently withdrawn from her bank account. Again, it is possible the victim was watched whilst using her card at the supermarket cashpoint and the PIN noted by the suspects.

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 30s, with long dark hair. Both are described as speaking with foreign accents.

This comes after similar thefts from Sainsbury’s at Warren Heath and Tesco at Copdock.Witnesses or anybody with information are asked to call Suffolk police on 101 quoting reference 14823/15 for Ipswich incidents, or reference 16604/15 for Newmarket incident. Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form.

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