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Cops alert shoppers to car park scams
THIEVES went on a £1,800 spending spree after stealing a woman’s purse in a car park con at a supermarket.
Police have released CCTV images of two men they want to speak to in connection with the incident and are asking shoppers to be extra vigilant after a spate of similar scams in Southend and Castle Point.
In the most recent incident, the woman had just finished putting shopping into her car after visiting Sainsbury’s, at Rayleigh Weir.
She was approached by a man who asked for help with directions and put a map on the bonnet of her car.
While she was looking at the map,asecond man got into her car and stole her purse from her handbag.
The men managed to spend £1,800 on her bank cards before the victim realised what had happened.
PC Paul Ledger said: “This use of a maptodistract a victim is one of a number of methods being used by criminals.
“We would urge shoppers to keep their wits about them at all times and always make sure they keep their purses and wallets secure and know where their valuables are.
“The thieves have usually observed the victim’s PIN number when they have been paying for their shopping or using a cashpoint, so it pays to cover up the keypad whenever you enter your number.”
Last week, 69-year-old Graham Oster-Ritter chased two men across the Morrisons car park, in London Road, Hadleigh, after they tried to steal his mobile phone and his wife’s purse.
They told Mr Oster-Ritter his car was leaking petrol and then grabbed his phone and tried to take his wife’s purse from her bag.
He and his wife Penny realised what was happening and sounded the car’s horn to scare them off before chasing them.
PC Ledger said scams being operated in the area included: ! Offering someonea£10 note and telling them they had dropped it. When thevictim opens their wallet or purse, the bank cards are snatched.
! Asking a victim for change for the supermarket trollies and then snatching their purse or wallet.
! Approaching someone at their car and telling them they had foundanail in their tyre. When the victim bends down to look, their purse or wallet is stolen from their unattended bag or coat.
Anyone who recognises the two men can call PC Ledger at Rayleigh Police Station on 101, or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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