Cashpoint thieves on the prowl in Sutton
Shoppers have been warned to be vigilant after cashpoint thieves stole more than £2,000 by distracting two pensioners.
In one instance a thief managed to spend almost £1,800 on a stolen card in just eight minutes after tricking a 76-year-old at a cashpoint in Sutton High Street on October 3.
In another a trickster stole £300 after distracting an 81-year-old man at a cashpoint in Wrythe Lane, Carshalton on the same day.
The thefts have prompted police to warn anyone using a cashpoint to be cautious, not let themselves get distracted and to cover the keypad when they enter their PIN.
They also say people should check their statements regularly and dispose of them using a shredder.
The 76-year-old woman was at a High Street cashpoint when she noticed a man standing close behind her.
Her card was stuck in the machine the man spoke to her to tell her the cashpoint was faulty and she would need to put her PIN in again.
She left the man at the machine and went into the branch. By the time the staff accessed the machine her card had gone and the man had disappeared.
In the eight minutes it took the woman to walk to her own bank and cancel the card, the thief spent £610 in a video game shop, withdrew £360 and obtained £802 in Euros at a cheque centre.
Earlier on the same day, an 81-year-old man used a cashpoint at The Market in Wrythe Lane and was approached by a man waving a sheet of paper in front of his face.
The con artist persuaded the man his card had been swallowed by the machine and told him to leave. He later found £300 had been withdrawn from his account.
Police advise people not to speak to anyone while they use cashpoints and to cancel any transactions if they fear someone is watching them.
They say people should also check cashpoints for signs of tampering, especially around the keypad and the hole where the card goes in.
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