Published: 16:08, 04 March 2021
| Updated: 16:49, 04 March 2021
Two elderly women have been subject to purse thefts in supermarket car parks on the same day.
At around 11.30am on Wednesday, it is reported a woman in her 60s had a purse stolen when she was distracted by a man in Morrisons car park in St Saviour's Road, Maidstone.
Less than 90 minutes later, a second purse theft was reported at around 12.45pm in Sainsbury's car park in Linden Park Road, Tunbridge Wells, when a woman in her 70s was distracted by a man while she was returning her trolley and she later found her purse was missing.
In Maidstone, a bank card from the women’s purse was later used to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs in the town centre while, in Tunbridge Wells, a bank card was subsequently used to take cash from an ATM at Sainsbury’s and at other cash machines in the town centre.
District Commander for Tunbridge Wells, Chief Insp Omid Changizi, said: “I would remind shoppers to be careful when out and about to avoid becoming victim to opportunist thieves who often work as a pair.
“In both these incidents, we suspect the victim was observed using their bank card while inside the supermarket.
“They were then distracted by a man asking questions in the car park while an accomplice is believed to have stolen their purse.
“It is important to ensure nobody is able to see your PIN when you use a cash machine or pay for purchases. Never leave handbags unattended and always lock your car when you have unpacked your shopping and are returning the trolley.
“Take particular care if anybody you do not know engages you in conversation outside the store.”
Police say, as soon as a theft of bank cards is discovered, it is important banks are contacted immediately to prevent criminals withdrawing victim’s money or making purchases.
Anyone with information about the thefts should contact 01622 604100, quoting reference number 46/35325/21.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111 or by using the anonymous online form.