Shoppers are being warned to be on their guard against distraction tactics used by criminals to steal handbags, wallets and purses in supermarkets.
Since the beginning of October, there have been 19 incidents reported to police where shoppers at supermarkets have been distracted by someone and had valuables taken.
Police believe those responsible often target the elderly or those parked in disabled parking areas.
Alan Osborne, Suffolk Police’s community safety manager, said that, in most cases, thieves were attempting to steal bank cards to use at ATM machines.
“Criminal groups are always looking at different and elaborate ways to dupe and distract people so we would remind shoppers to be on their guard and aware of what is happening around them,” he said.
Some of the tactics employed by thieves include telling victims they have a nail in their tyre, that they have dropped money, asking for directions or being offering to pack away shopping.
Earlier this month, a woman in her 90s had her handbag snatched while shopping at Sudbury’s Waitrose store in Station Road.
Gareth Davies, 33, of Raleigh Road, Sudbury, has been charged with theft in relation to the incident and has appeared in court.