Appeal after Sidmouth and Beer shops targeted by distraction thefts


- Credit: Archant

Devon and Cornwall police are appealing for information after a spate of distraction burglaries.

Police are appealing for information a spate of distraction burglaries in Sidmouth in Beer.

More than £600 was taken yesterday afternoon (Monday, July 24) from three shops.

A police spokeswoman said the suspect is described as 5ft 10ins to 6ft 3ins, white, wearing a navy tee-shirt, jeans and a maroon coloured zipped hoody. He is believed to be around 40-years-old to 45-years-old.

Members of the public are being urged to be vigilant following the incidents, the first of which took place between 11.50am and 12pm at Sweet Temptations, Market Place, Sidmouth.

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A police spokeswoman said a man entered the shop asking if a parcel had been left for him.

The assistant left the till area to look out the back for the parcel and found £40 cash was missing from the till. [CR/061279/17].

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In a second incident, a man was also reported to have taken £220 from Sidsoft between 11.50am and 12pm, after distracting the shop owner into leaving the till area. [CR/061287/17].

The third theft occurred at the Village Store in Fore Street Beer where a man asked staff to look for a walking stick that his mother had left behind.

The spokeswoman said the offender was allegedly on the phone to his mother and when the shop assistant returned had taken nearly £400 in cash from the till. [CR/061305/17 refers].

DI Grant Leitch said: “I urge the public to be vigilant in recognising when an offender is attempting to exploit people’s better nature.

“In this instance, the offender asked for assistance purely to distract the victim and thereby make it a viable theft to complete. Clearly, one always wishes to help people, but I recommend calling upon colleagues to ensure that tills and cash desks are not left unattended.

“If such a situation does occur or if you regard the behaviour of any person as suspicious, hold in mind a full description of the suspect and contact the police.

“Together, we can prevent and detect these crimes.”

Anyone with information is requested to contact DI Leitch on telephone number 101 or you can email quoting crime number CR/061279/17.

Or alternatively information can be provided anonymously via crime stoppers on telephone 0800 555 111

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