Thieves steal £20,000 in Sussex shoppers' bank card scam

Image source, Sussex Police
Image caption,
Amounts of up to £3,500 have been stolen from shoppers

Two men are suspected of stealing nearly £20,000 from shoppers by watching them enter their Pin codes and then stealing their bank cards.

A CCTV image of the men, believed to be working with others, has been released by Sussex Police.

Victims' purses and wallets were stolen as they left stores and cash withdrawn from nearby ATM machines before they became aware of the theft.

One one occasion they targeted a person in a hospice shop.

There have been 22 such reports in Sussex since November last year, mostly in supermarkets, but also from pubs and fast food restaurants. The amounts stolen vary but have reached as much as £3,500.

The men are described as being of Eastern European appearance, one bald and the other with dark hair.

Investigator Kayleigh Bartup said: "We are working with the large supermarket brands to raise awareness about these incidents among staff and customers.

"Be alert and aware of strangers when shopping and never leave your bag or trolley unattended at any point. Try not to be distracted by strangers, and also be alert for any suspicious activity around your vehicle.

"It appears that these men, and others, may strike up to twice a day in different towns, and then lay low for a while, so we need to maintain awareness even when there are no reports."

Incidents include:

  • Tesco in Lewes on 19 November 2016 - £1,360 obtained
  • Sainsbury's in East Grinstead on 13 February - £1,749 obtained
  • Morrisons in Seaford on 7 March - £1,800 obtained
  • Asda in Brighton on 11 March - £1,000 obtained:
  • Waitrose in Eastbourne on 12 May - £2,500 obtained
  • Sainsbury's in East Grinstead on 26 May - £1,219 obtained
  • St Catherine's Hospice shop, East Grinstead on 26 May - £240 obtained
  • Waitrose in Burgess Hill on 8 June - £900 obtained
  • Waitrose in Hove on 17 June - £3,500 obtained

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