SHOPPERS are being warned to be vigilant after a spate of distraction thefts at supermarket car parks.
A total of 23 reports of this type of crime have been reported to the northern division of Hampshire police – which includes the Winchester and East Hampshire districts – over the past three months.
Offenders’ tactics including distracting people by asking for directions, feigning an illness such as diabetes, and asking for change for parking.
Criminals then steal handbags and wallets and use people’s debit and credit cards to withdraw cash.
Graeme Barbour, crime prevention adviser at Hampshire police, said: ‘People who have fallen victim to this type of crime have also reported seeing people behaving suspiciously in supermarkets if they have been using self-service tills.
‘This could be where offenders are watching shoppers entering pin codes when paying for their shopping.
‘If you notice people acting suspiciously inside supermarkets or you are approached by someone in a car park, please report it.’
Advice includes locking handbags away before helping anyone.