WARNING: Criminal gang of distraction thieves targeting vulnerable in the county

Editorial image
Editorial image

Police are alerting elderly and vulnerable people to a group of distraction thieves who part of a criminal gang operating in Nottinghamshire - with two incidents happening today.

On Monday, a woman in her 60s was approached by a man who asked for change for a £2 coin, on the corner of Grove Street, Retford, near the bus station. He then held a magazine over her bag and tried to put his hand inside but she realised what he was doing and he ran away.

The man had an Eastern European accent, is in his 30s and has dark hair. He was wearing smart navy blue clothing and ran off down Grove Street.

A similar incident happened today (Wednesday 2 December) at a Wilkinson store in Clumber Street, Mansfield.

The man is described as having dark hair, speaking with an Eastern European accent and wearing a leather zip-up jacket. On this occasion the man managed to steal cash from the woman’s bag.

A third incident also happened at about 12.30pm today. An elderly man was sat in his car parked between Union Street and St John’s Street in Mansfield when a man knocked on the window.

He asked the occupant for change. The victim took out his wallet and placed it on his knee. The man then placed a map over the wallet and while distracting the man he stole hundreds of pounds.

Sgt Chris Sullivan, from Mansfield Police Station, said: “It is appalling that these people are preying on the kindnesses of others who are only trying to help out with change when asked.

“Please be vigilant to people approaching you in the street like this and report anything suspicious to us. If you have friends or relatives you think could be at risk please share this appeal with them and help them to keep their belongings safe.”