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Elderly victims lose £1,500 to card and cash thieves at bank and car park in Bishop's Stortford town centre

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Pensioners out in Bishop’s Stortford town centre have been the target of thieves who stole cash and cards.

An 82-year-old woman lost £500 in a distraction theft at a bank in North Street while a man paying to park had his card taken and £1,000 stolen from his account just minutes later. An 89-year-old woman also had her purse stolen.

Police have urged shoppers to be on their guard in the run-up to Christmas, which traditionally sees an increase in purse thefts.

Lloyds Bank in North Street (53220139)
Lloyds Bank in North Street (53220139)

Insp Mark Collins, of Bishop’s Stortford police's Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We see a rise every year in these types of thefts of purses and cards. We're asking people just be aware of other people around you, and if you feel that anything suspicious is happening, speak to the shop staff, who will assist you. Security staff are trained to look after you.”

On Friday November 12 at 2.40pm, a woman using the cashpoint at Lloyds Bank in North Street was approached by a man who told her it was not working. "He held a sheet of paper over the PIN block and took the victim's cash," said Insp Collins.

Two men "of Asian appearance" in their 30s distracted a 72-year-old motorist in The Causeway car park on Wednesday November 10 at 10.30am. They approached him as he used a pay and display machine, telling him it was not working.

Insp Collins said: “He challenged them to look away while he put in his PIN, but one man distracted him while the other removed the bank card and went straight to the bank and withdrew £1,000.”

The suspects were described as around 5ft 9in tall, of medium build and clean shaven. One was wearing a woolly hat and both had lightweight jackets on.

On Monday November 8, an 89-year-old woman realised her purse was missing from her bag. Police said she had visited the dentist and various shops but noticed it had gone when she went to pay for items in B&M in South Street at around 11am. Her purse contained her Covid and bus passes and £50-£60 cash.

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