Hundreds of pounds taken from victim’s accounts as distraction thieves strike

Waitrose, Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto

Waitrose, Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto - Credit: Archant

A grandfather was left distressed after thieves emptied his bank account following a distraction theft in Saffron Walden.

The 80-year-old victim, who lives in Saffron Walden and wishes to remain anonymous, said he was targeted on May 20, with thieves stealing his wallet.

The wallet was a Christmas present from his daughter and contained a photo of him and his wife.

Following the theft, more than £1,000 was spent using one of the man's bank cards whilst £250 was withdrawn in cash from his credit card.

The father-of-two said: "I was absolutely shocked. It's quite distressing, the thought of someone having your personal stuff."

At around 10.45am, after loading his shopping into his car, which was parked on the ground floor of the car park at Waitrose, the victim was about to drive home when a man knocked on his car window.

He told the victim someone had damaged his car at the back and he "better have a look". Despite feeling uneasy, the victim got out of his car to inspect the 'damage', leaving his bag which contained his wallet on the passenger seat.

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"The man was bent down at the back of the car pointing low down to what he said was damaged. I looked and there was no damage. He said 'I'm sorry I bothered you' and walked towards the other entrance," the victim recalled.

Driving away, the victim noticed his passenger door was open and once he returned home, received a text from the bank, asking him about out of the ordinary purchases.

Despite the bank "immediately" cancelling his bank cards, the thieves managed to empty the victim's current account, spending a total of £1085.43p. Fortunately, the victim will be reimbursed but he is unsure when he will receive the money.

The pensioner said: "They [the thieves] must have been waiting for someone to get back to their car, and they were probably looking for someone who was alone. It is awful."

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Enquiries are continuing after a wallet was reported as stolen. The victim alleged that a black leather wallet had been taken from the front seat of his car.

"The man the victim saw has been described as white, aged in his late 40s and of slim build. He was around 5ft 11ins tall and spoke with what the victim believes is a Spanish accent."

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 and quote the crime reference number 42/78759/19.