Eastbourne shoppers urged to be alert after thefts

Police scene
Police scene

Police are reminding supermarket shoppers in Eastbourne to be on the alert for thieves.

It follows a recent spate of incidents in which supermarket customers, and some other shoppers, have been watched whilst entering their PIN numbers and have then had their purses and wallets stolen as they leave the store. Suspects then withdraw large amounts of cash from nearby cash machines before the victims are aware.

Suspected thieves SUS-170808-150125001

Suspected thieves SUS-170808-150125001

The two men pictured, working with others, are believed to have been successful in obtaining nearly £20,000 by targeting victims in this way.

Since November last year there have been 22 such reports in Sussex including two in Eastbourne.

At Waitrose in Eastbourne on May 12 £2,500 was obtained by the thieves and at Waitrose in Hailsham on May 26 £630 was obtained.

The men in the photo, taken at Sainsburys in Worthing on June 20, are described as of Eastern European appearance, one bald and the other with dark hair.

Anyone who recognises the men or who has any further information is asked to contact Sussex Police via https://sussex.police.uk/appealresponse or call 101, quoting reference 47170066290

If you see anyone behaving suspiciously in this way, alert store security staff or dial 999.

Investigator Kayleigh Bartup said, “We are also working with the large supermarket brands to raise awareness about these incidents among staff and customers.

“Be alert and aware of strangers when shopping in large supermarkets and never leave your bag or trolley unattended at any point. Try not to be distracted by strangers, and also be alert for any suspicious activity around your vehicle which you should keep secured.

“It appears that these men, and others, may strike up to twice a day in different towns, and then lay low for a while, so we need to maintain awareness even when there are no reports.”