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Pensioner warns Bury St Edmunds shoppers to be vigilant after distraction thieves steal her purse at Waitrose and withdraw nearly £1,000 from bank account

A pensioner targeted by distraction thieves who managed to withdraw nearly £1,000 from her bank account after stealing her purse in a Suffolk supermarket car park has urged others to be vigilant.

The woman in her early 70s said three men were involved in the theft of her purse, containing £250 in cash, at Waitrose, in Bury St Edmunds, on Friday, July 2.

One observed her entering her bank card pin at a checkout, another distracted her by claiming her car had been damaged after daubing two lines of permanent marker on the back of the vehicle and, as she went to look, a third man stole her purse from the car.

The incident was in Waitrose in Bury St Edmunds on Friday, July 2. Picture: Mark Westley
The incident was in Waitrose in Bury St Edmunds on Friday, July 2. Picture: Mark Westley

They managed to withdraw £990 from her account, which her bank has reimbursed, and attempted three further transactions totalling £360 that were declined.

She has warned fellow shoppers to be cautious.

“Just be vigilant – it happened in two minutes,” she said.

“It’s upset me for a couple of weeks. Someone just tells you your car has been hit and you automatically go look. Had I seen the guy doing it I would have stopped him.”

The incident was at about 1.08pm and the man who watched her in Waitrose was bald and wearing a purple shirt.

The man who distracted her was about 45-years-old, about 5ft 5/6in tall with dark medium length hair, an Italian/Spanish accent and a tanned complexion.

The thief who she believes snatched her purse was in a Land Rover, aged 60 to 70, about 5ft 9in and a stocky build.

She returned to Waitrose when she realised her purse was missing and praised the ‘excellent’ staff for their support.

Anyone with information should call Suffolk Police quoting reference 37/35620/21.

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