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Woman’s purse stolen in distraction theft

We are investigating the theft of a woman’s purse at a supermarket car park in Staple Hill and want to speak to two men in connection with the incident.

A shopper, in her 60s, felt she was being watched when paying for groceries at the store in Broad Street on Wednesday 20 November.

Returning to her car, between 11-11.10am, she was approached by a man who asked for directions to Cossham Hospital. A second man stole her purse from the vehicle, while she was distracted.

The purse contained credit cards, the victim’s driving licence and cash. The cards were subsequently used to withdraw money and pay for goods. Some of the items were found discarded in a hedge in Kingswood on Thursday 16 January, but the purse has not been recovered.

The two white men we wish to speak to are said to be aged 25-35 years old and had an Eastern European accent.

The man who approached the victim for directions was described as 5ft 6-7ins, having black hair and wearing a grey top and jeans.

The second individual who stole the purse was described as wearing a navy or dark puffer jacket, dark jeans, grey boots. He was said to have dark short hair and some dark facial hair.

Investigator Hannah Gordon said: “This is a particularly nasty crime, targeting and preying on people’s good nature and wanting to help.

“This is a common tactic where men, generally, target women on their own within the store. They then film or watch them enter their PIN number, before preying on them in the car park to ask for directions with a map or notepad.”

We would advise anyone concerned about their PIN number being discovered to contact their bank immediately and get it changed.

If you can help, please call 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5219268675

You can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their Anonymous Online Form.

No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court or have to speak to police when contacting Crimestoppers.