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Police warning after thieves target elderly

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Police have issued a warning after several distraction thefts have happened this month where victims have either had jewellery or cash stolen.

Since the beginning of March there have been seven separate reports of people being targeted by thieves who distract them and then steal from them.

Often victims are elderly, and police are urging people to make their family, friends and neighbours aware of this type of distraction theft.

A common theme amongst the incidents is fraudsters pretending to collect money for charity, and finding ways to get physically close to the victims to either steal a watch, jewellery or cash from their purse or bag.

On Friday 3 March a man in his 80s was approached by a woman who wanted to talk to him about making a donation to a charity, during this she stole a gold chain from around his neck.

On the same day in Cirencester a woman was approached by another woman who claimed to be collecting money for a charity for deaf children. The woman got her purse out to make a donation, and later that day noticed £600 in cash had been stolen from her purse.

On Monday 6 March in Tetbury, a woman was approached by two women reportedly collecting for a deaf children’s charity, while speaking with one of the women, the other opened the victim’s car door and stole £450 in cash from her bag.

On Thursday 9 March on London Road in Stroud, a woman was distracted and had her purse stolen.

On the same date in Cirencester, a man was loading bags of groceries into his car boot when he was distracted by another man. He later noticed his wallet had been stolen and money had been withdrawn from his bank account.

On Monday this week (13 March) in Cirencester, a woman was approached by another woman who claimed to again be collecting for a deaf children’s charity and was asking for donations. The victim donated £10, and when the woman who claimed to be a charity worker hugged her, it is believed she stole £300 in cash from her purse.

Yesterday (Tuesday 14 March) a man was approached by a woman in Stow-on-the-Wold who said she was collecting money for a deaf charity. In this interaction she managed to steal his Rolex watch.

Officers are asking people to be vigilant to this type of theft and to be wary if approached by an unknown person who asks you to donate cash.

If you see suspicious activity and the offenders are present, or if a crime has just happened, you should call police immediately on 999.

Call 101 for a non-emergency or report online: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/

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