Distraction Scam At Supermarkets

Police are warning shoppers that a couple of men are going around supermarkets in Hampshire distracting people and stealing their bank cards.

While shopping in Winchester and Totton four people have reported being approached by a man at the checkout who picked up money from the floor, on most occasions it was a £20 note, and then attempted to give it to the victim, claiming that they have dropped it.

On the four occasions, two at Tesco, Winnall, one at Sainsburys, Winchester and one at Morrisons, Totton, the victims declined the cash but the offender has managed to distract the victim to the point of being able to take their bank card. Large amounts of cash have then been withdrawn from their accounts.

Officers have descriptions of the men they would like to speak to:

The man at Tesco, Winnall on November 18 is described as:

- Of a continental origin, possibly Spanish or Italian

- Aged in his mid 40s

- Around 5ft 8ins

- Dark hair which was slightly balding

- Wearing an open neck white shirt, black trousers and a black top

The man at Sainsburys, Winchester on November 18 is described as:

- White

- Around 5ft 5ins

- Aged in his 50s

- Wearing a dark knee length trench coat

- He possibly spoke with a foreign accent

The man at Tesco, Winnal on November 16 is described as:

- White

- Around 5ft 1ins

- White / grey hair

- Wearing a long Khaki coloured coat which was calf or ankle length, grey trousers, and a pale blue head scarf

The man at Morrisons, Totton on November 16 is described as:

- White

- Stocky build

- Wearing dark blue clothing

- Cropped hair

- He spoke with an Eastern European accent

PC Carolyn Bulpit, said: "It appears that on each occasion the offender has some how managed to obtain the PIN of the stolen cards, possibly by watching the victims at the checkouts before distracting them and taking their cards.

"I would advise shoppers to always cover their PIN completely when entering it and to place their bank cards in a secure location, preferably inside a wallet or purse which is then zipped or fastened and placed inside another bag or zipped pocket.

"If anyone is approached by someone using a similar technique do not engage in conversation with them or allow them to get close to your personal belongings.  Please ensure you stay vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the police immediately."

Anyone with any information should contact PC Bulpit at North Walls police station on 101 or call Crimestoppers, the charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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