POLICE are hunting thieves who use distraction techniques to steal bank cards in Winchester supermarkets.
Over the past month three victims have had cards stolen in Tesco in Winnall and Sainsbury’s Badger Farm.
The victims were approached by a man who picked up money from the floor, most often a £20, and claimed the victim had dropped it.
On all occasions the victims declined the money but the offender was able to steal their cards while they were distracted.
The first incident at Tesco was on November 16 and the offender is described as a white man, at 5ft 1ins, with white hair and wearing a long Khaki coat with calf or ankle length grey trousers and a pale blue head scarf in relation to the first Tesco theft.
Another theft occurred at Tesco on November 18 with police looking for a man of Spanish or Italian origin, aged 40, around 5ft 8ins with slightly balding dark hair and wearing an open-neck white t shirt, with black trousers and a black top.
The Sainsbury’s offence also took place on November 18 and the offender is described as a white man, in his 50s, 5ft 5ins, wearing a dark knee-length trench coat.
Police believe an incident at Morrisons supermarket in Totton on November 16 is also linked.
PC Carolyn Bulpit warned residents to stay vigilant. She said: “It appears that on each occasion the offender has somehow managed to obtain the PIN of the stolen cards, possibly by watching the victims at the checkouts before distracting them and taking their cards.
“I would advise shoppers to always cover their PIN completely when entering it and to place their bank cards in a secure location, preferably inside a wallet or purse which is then zipped or fastened and placed inside another bag or zipped pocket.
“If anyone is approached by someone using a similar technique do not engage in conversation with them or allow them to get close to your personal belongings.”
Anyone with information should contact PC Bulpit at Winchester Police Station on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.