Eastbourne police warning after thieves target Waitrose shopper

CCTV image of two men suspected to have been involved in the theft of a woman's cards and withdrawing large sums from her accounts.
CCTV image of two men suspected to have been involved in the theft of a woman's cards and withdrawing large sums from her accounts.

Police are urging shoppers to be alert after thieves stole a woman’s purse and withdrew around £2,000 from her accounts.

Deidre Waite, 65, said the two men watched her put in her pin and stole her card wallet without her noticing in Waitrose, Old Town, on May 12.

Within 25 minutes, they had withdrawn £1,950 from the supermarket’s ATM before heading into the town centre to take more. Police say one of the cards was then declined at Argos.

Mrs Waite said, “They knew exactly what they were doing, they must have waited, watched and targeted me.”

She said as she was collecting a free coffee a man leaned over her to pick up a newspaper – and that was when she believes it happened.

She said, “They were really organised. The were middle aged, respectable looking men. I had no idea it had happened until I got a message from my bank.”

The mother said the experience left her shaken, and she wants to advise people to never have the same pin for multiple cards – something she has learned from the incident

She said, “I’m going to be a lot more careful. I went back last week and was very vigilant. You’ve got one eye over your shoulder all the time.

“I have lived in Eastbourne for 20 years now. I have never had that happen to me in all my life.”

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said, “Two men who were seen at Waitrose are suspected of being involved in the theft. They are described as middle eastern males, one bald and the other with dark hair.

“The suspect with no hair was wearing a long black coat, with blue jeans and black and white trainers. The second suspect was wearing a blue puffa jacket with light blue jeans and black and white trainers.”

Anyone who recognises the men or has any further information can contact Sussex Police via 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or report online at www.sussex.police.uk/appealresponse or call 101, quoting serial 1567 of 12/05.

Officers are considering the possibility the same men may have been involved in the theft of a bank card from a man outside Morrisons in Seaford on March 7. The card was used to withdraw £1,800 from ATMs in Brighton.

It is also believed possible they could have been involved in two other similar thefts in Sussex on March 12. A man had his bank card stolen whilst outside Morrisons in Lottbridge Drove, and £1,300 was taken from his account. On the same day a man had his wallet stolen at Asda in Hollingbury, Brighton. His bank card was used to withdraw £500.

The police spokesperson continued, “Police remind all shoppers to take care of their cards and cash at all times while out shopping.

“They should try not to be distracted by strangers, and are asked to be alert for any suspicious activity around them or their vehicles. which they should keep secured.”