Police in East Sussex are warning shops and businesses about a scam by bogus charity collectors, following incidents in Crowborough, Hailsham and Bexhill on Wednesday (February 25) where mobile phones and debit cards were stolen.
In each case police believe the same two men were involved.
They visited a shop in the High Street, Crowborough, at around midday.
One of the men showed staff and customers a leaflet claiming to be about a disabled children’s charity, while the other wandered around.
After they had left it was discovered that a mobile phone had been stolen.
Around an hour later, a shop in Vicarage Field, Hailsham, received a visit from two men.
They came into the shop and said they were collecting for charity, distracting a staff member with their clipboards.
After they had left, a mobile phone and debit cards were found to be missing.
These two men are described as tanned, and one of them has a beard.
Then at 3pm two men holding clipboards entered a shop in Sackville Road, Bexhill, claiming to be raising funds for an unnamed children’s deaf school.
The men were acting suspiciously and made out they couldn’t talk.
They were able to distract the victim and steal an iphone 6 mobile phone.
On this occasion the men were described as Middle Eastern, aged between 20 and 30, of medium build and height.
They were both wearing blue jeans, one with a black jacket and the other a blue hat.
Two men then went to a number of shops in Cooden Sea Road, Bexhill, and again were asking shop workers to support the charity and sign a petition.
There were no thefts at these premises.
Inspector Tony Wakefield said: “Police advice to any business that receives a visit from two men answering these descriptions is to phone 999 immediately.
“We are extremely keen to locate and speak to these two men.
“We would also advise people to keep their valuables locked or hidden away and never left in an easily visible and accessible place such as the top of a desk or counter.”
Anyone who saw the men on Wednesday is asked to contact police via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101, quoting serials 561 or 670 of 25/2 for Crowborough or Hailsham, and serial 969 of 25/2 for the Bexhil incident.