Distraction thieves target Hove shoppers

Posted On 03 Dec 2022 at 12:11 pm

Distraction thieves have targeted shoppers at an unnamed supermarket in Hove, according to Sussex Police.

The force said: “Police are urging the public to be vigilant following a number of distraction thefts at supermarkets in Sussex.

“Officers are investigating a series of linked reports involving elderly and vulnerable women who have had bank cards and money stolen from them in areas including Crawley, Hove, Horsham, Haywards Heath, and Rustington.

“In each case, a person has inconspicuously watched the victim enter their PIN (personal identification number) at the checkout before sending a description of the victim to a second person waiting in the car park.

“That person then distracts the victim while they’re unpacking their shopping, allowing another suspect to steal purses and bank cards from the victim’s handbag.

“In most cases, the handbag was left in situ meaning the victims haven’t noticed their purses or cards are missing until they get home.

“By this time, money has already been withdrawn from their account.

“Inquiries into the reported offences are ongoing and, with the busy Christmas shopping period ahead, officers are urging others to be alert to any suspicious activity in shops and supermarkets.

“Shoppers are encouraged to check their surroundings before entering their PIN, always cover the keypad and keep a close eye on any handbags or valuables while in public places.

“If you have any information relating to the offences above, or if you want further advice on how to keep yourself safe while shopping, you can visit your local police station, call 101 or visit the Sussex Police website.”

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