Between 1st January and 14th November 2015 there have been a total of 53 crimes where a distraction method has been used to carry out a theft or attempted theft offence at a supermarket.
Since the start of the year the following number of offences have taken place:
· Cheltenham -15 offences
· Tewkesbury – 11 offences
· Gloucester – 8 offences
There have been 12 offences across Gloucestershire in November alone and the number may increase as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period.
It would seem that offenders are hanging around at supermarket cash point machines or the quick checkout tills trying to obtain the credit or debit card pin numbers used by shoppers. They then attempt to obtain the card itself by a form of distraction either at the supermarket or on the victim’s journey home. The most common distraction method used is to ask directions (often to the hospital) while the victim is putting bags into their car but others such as pointing out a fictitious problem with the victim’s car have been used.
It seems that the most likely people to be targeted for this new type of crime are older female shoppers who are on their own.
Please be aware of anyone following you around the store, car park or hanging around near the tills and cash point machines at supermarkets. If you notice anyone acting in this manner please do not hesitate to bring it to the attention of a member of staff at the store. Also where possible go shopping with someone else and be cautious when using your pin number wherever you shop. If you discover your cards are missing report the loss to your bank and police straight away. If you witness anything suspicious at supermarkets please report it to the police by ringing 101 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org