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77-year-old woman targeted by distraction thief in Bishop's Stortford car park

Distraction thieves are continuing to target shoppers in Bishop's Stortford.

On Saturday afternoon (Oct 5), a 77-year-old woman was approached in the Northgate End car park near Waitrose by a dark-haired, white woman in her 20s who spoke with a heavy eastern European accent.

The victim had just finished loading her shopping and handbag in her boot when the stranger told her someone had driven into the front of her vehicle.

General Views, Bishops Stortford.Northgate End Car Park. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (19032435)
General Views, Bishops Stortford.Northgate End Car Park. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (19032435)

She saw no damage so got in her car and started to drive home. But she realised something was amiss, so stopped her car and checked her handbag.

Her black leather purse, containing £90 cash, had been stolen, so she contacted her bank immediately to block her cards.

She was told someone had tried to use her card fraudulently but had been unsuccessful thanks to her quick thinking.

In recent weeks, other visitors to Bishop's Stortford's town centre have been targeted by thieves using similar distraction tactics.

On Monday September 16, an 88-year-old woman was approached outside her home in Plaw Hatch Close by a man asking for the name of the street. While she was speaking to him, an accomplice stole her purse from her car. They then withdrew more than £1,000 from her bank account.

That same day, a Waitrose shopper was approached in the Northgate End supermarket's car park by a man with a map asking for directions to Southampton. She had her smartphone in her hand, which had her two bank cards inside the phone case. As they were speaking, she noticed him glancing over her shoulder. She turned round to see another man shaking his head. They did not manage to take anything from her.

And on Saturday September 7, an Aldi shopper was approached by a man in the London Road store's car park. He too had a map and asked for directions to Southampton. During the encounter, her Halifax debit card went missing from her purse and was quickly used to make a £1,108 transaction at Argos in Jackson Square.

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