Radio Sandwell Local News

Cashpoint thieves using new tactic to steal from customers

2015-02-20 15:43:36

Police investigating more than 20 distraction thefts across the West Midlands are alerting people to a new tactic used by thieves in order to steal money from people at cashpoints.

CCTV footage reveals the crooks approach someone at an ATM, tell them the machine is not working, and then use a piece of paper to cover the screen in order to cancel the transaction and pocket the card.

The thieves - who have also memorised the person's pin by looking over their shoulder - then go on to use the card to withdraw hundreds from the bank account.

At least £9,000 has been stolen from people via this method from cashpoints in Hall GreenSparkhill, SheldonSmall HeathNorthfield, Coventry and Handsworth since October last year.

The thieves are thought to be working in a group of three and officers believe they may be travelling from London to carry out their crimes.

But the man who approaches people at the cashpoints is described as Asian with a neatly trimmed beard, who always wears a hat.

Since the first reports, officers have circulated CCTV of the suspects to other forces in a bid to trace them and have been trawling road cameras to find vehicles involved, but are yet to identify the culprits.

Detective Constable Christine Hammond is investigating the offences.

She said: "We're determined to find those responsible for these thefts but in the meantime, we're keen to spread the word and let people know what's happening so they can take steps to protect themselves.

"If you’re at a cashpoint and someone approaches you, don't take their word for it that the machine isn't working. Simply ignore them and carry on as you are, making sure you keep your pin covered at all times.

"If you do spot any suspicious activity like this, then please call police straight away and if you see them getting in and out of any vehicles make a note of any registration numbers.

"Sadly, it's often older people - the most vulnerable in our society - who are the target of these crimes and I would urge anyone with information to call us on 101, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

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