A "PROFESSIONAL" outfit of con artists are preying on elderly people in Basildon town centre, according to one victim who had £1,200 stolen. 

John Kennett, 75, was out in the town earlier this week when he believes he was targeted by the scammers when he was inside Barclays bank and boomaker, Betfred. 

It saw him tricked into opening his wallet in front of two women and he believes they were able to steal a bank card without him seeing. 

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They then made a number of cash withdrawals from his account.

"I still feel so upset and broken for falling for this scam, the bank believes this isn’t the first time this has happened either," Mr Kennet said.

“It has been on my mind ever since, I haven’t slept either, I feel like a complete idiot.

"Please anyone else don’t fall for this con, these must be professional to be able to take that much.”

Mr Kennet believes a woman behind him in Barclays watched him punch in his pin number when he went to withdraw £120 from a cash machine.

As he was walking out the branch, he was approached by the woman who claimed he had dropped £10 on the floor.

An unsuspecting Mr Kennet thanked the woman, took the money and walked across the square to a boomaker. 

But when inside, he was then approached by the same woman, and another, and told the money he had picked up from the floor was not his and needed to give it back.

Mr Kennet took out his wallet and handed over the cash, with the women reportedly also touching the wallet to help him find it.

They then left and it wasn’t until 40 minutes later the pensioner noticed his bank card was no longer in his wallet.

He said: “I went straight into Barclays and told them I think I have been scammed.

"They checked my account and saw £1,200 had then taken followed by another 22 payments of £30.”

Mr Kennet has since confirmed the money will be reimbursed by Barclays but has warned others of the scam amid fears others will be targeted in Basildon.

He added: “Barclays then cancelled my card for me and said I will be reimbursed, which is a relief.

“I shouldn’t have put my cards on the table when getting the £10 out, but it happens so easily."