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Security advice issued after three distraction thefts at Haverhill cash machines

PUBLISHED: 15:49 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:33 17 January 2018

Police have issued security advice to people using cash machines. Picture: PA

Police have issued security advice to people using cash machines. Picture: PA

Three distraction thefts at cash machines in west Suffolk have prompted police to issue security advice.

All three thefts happened in Haverhill when offenders distracted victims during a transaction, stealing their bank cards.

On Thursday, January 11, at around 7.30am, an older man using the ATM at Lloyds Bank in High Street was distracted by two men who said his card had been “eaten” by the cashpoint machine. The bank card was then taken by one of the men and used to remove funds from the victim’s account.

On Saturday, January 13, at around 10.05am, a man is alleged to have distracted an older woman at the cashpoint outside Sainsbury’s in Haycocks Road with a piece of paper, before stealing her bank card. Two men were possibly involved.

The third incident took place at the same location at around 5.40pm the same day. A woman in her 40s was using the cashpoint when a white man wearing a blue baseball cap and a puffa jacket grabbed her arm and tried to distract her with a piece of paper.

She realised he had taken her bank card and later found funds had been withdrawn from another cashpoint.

Anyone with information should call Suffolk police on 101, quoting crime references 2580/18 (11 January) 2493/18 and 2499/18 (13 January) or use the online link. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police have also issued the following advice:

• Avoid using a cash point late at night or in a deserted street

• Leave the cash point as soon as you have completed the transaction

• Cover your pin when entering it so that no one else can see it

• Never count money in the street, put it away immediately

• Be aware of your surroundings

Suffolk police said thieves often use portable devices attached to the outside of the cash machines to clone people’s cards.

The devices give the normal appearance of a machine frontage and are simply stuck onto the machine.

Cameras are also used, often hidden in leaflet holders. People are advised to check for anything abnormal or suspicious.

Thieves can operate in groups at cash machines using diversionary tactics such as tapping victims on the shoulder and asking if they have dropped some money while a second person takes their card or money.

A police spokesman said: “Be alert of who is around you. Cover your pin and always opt to use the cash machines inside the branch or business premises if possible.”

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