Shoppers warned to be vigilant after distraction thefts at supermarket car parks
People across the county are being urged to be vigilant when out shopping after several distraction thefts have been reported to police.
People are being approached in supermarket car parks by groups or individuals using a variety of distraction techniques. They can pretty much take any form, but the favourites at the moments are people asking for directions – usually using a map, feigning injury or illness, or people asking for change for car parking.
Whilst you’re busy doing your best to help these people, your wallet or handbag can mysteriously go missing. The debit and credit cards taken are often used to withdraw cash very soon afterwards – sometimes even at the cashpoint machines in the supermarket car park!
Hopefully few of us now keep our PIN numbers written down in our wallets (be honest!). However people who have fallen victim to this crime have reported seeing people behaving suspiciously in supermarkets as they have been using self-service tills. It seems the criminals are hanging around to see you input your PIN and then only need to get hold of your card to be on a spending spree with your cash.
If you notice people acting suspiciously inside supermarkets or you are approached by someone in a car park, please report it to the security team in the store and to the police as soon as possible.
When you are out shopping, never leave your bag on the trolley unattended and always ensure your bag is zipped up. When putting your shopping away in the boot of your vehicle always ensure your handbag/wallet is with you.
If you are distracted for even a moment whilst putting your shopping away, keep your handbag with you or lock it in the vehicle before speaking to or helping anyone. Likewise, if you are asked for directions or to look at maps, make sure you have safely stashed your personal items out of harm’s way first.
We can all do our bit to make Hampshire an even better place to be so if you have information about ANY crime, please do not hesitate to give Crimestoppers a call. 0800 555 111 or log on to www.crimestoppers-uk.org to give information online anonymously. The online reporting form has been updated and is easier to use than ever before. For those of you Twittered up, please follow me on @HantsCrimestopp for regular updates.
PC Simon Wright