Police warning after supermarket shoppers targeted by thieves

Police say the two men pictured are believed to have been successful in obtaining nearly �20,000 by targeting victims
Police say the two men pictured are believed to have been successful in obtaining nearly �20,000 by targeting victims

Police are reminding supermarket shoppers to be alert for thieves after a spate of incidents across the area.

Sussex Police says it has received multiple reports of customers in Lewes, Seaford, Hailsham and Uckfield being watched whilst entering their PIN numbers and having their purses and wallets stolen as they leave the store.

Suspects then withdraw large amounts of cash from nearby cash machines before the victims are aware.

Police say nearby targets include Tesco and Waitrose in Lewes, where £1,360 and £1,000 were stolen respectively on November 19 and March 2.

Customers at Morisson’s in Seaford have been struck twice, with £1,800 taken from one on March 7 and £1,100 from another on March 11.

In Hailsham £630 was taken from a Waitrose customer on May 26, while in Uckfield an unsuccessful attempt was made at Tesco on June 7.

The two men pictured, working with others, are believed to have been successful in obtaining nearly £20,000 by targeting victims in this way across Sussex.

They are described as of Eastern European appearance, one bald and the other with dark hair.

Anyone who recognises the men or who has any further information is asked to contact Sussex Police via https://sussex.police.uk/appealresponse or call 101, quoting reference 47170066290

If you see anyone behaving suspiciously in this way, alert store security staff or dial 999.

Investigator Kayleigh Bartup said: “We are working with the large supermarket brands to raise awareness about these incidents among staff and customers.

“Be alert and aware of strangers when shopping in large supermarkets and never leave your bag or trolley unattended at any point.

“Try not to be distracted by strangers, and also be alert for any suspicious activity around your vehicle which you should keep secured.

“It appears that these men, and others, may strike up to twice a day in different towns, and then lay low for a while, so we need to maintain awareness even when there are no reports.”