Warning over distraction scam

Caught in the act - the woman on the right of the picture is seen smiling after being told to put the tablet back by the shop owner
Caught in the act - the woman on the right of the picture is seen smiling after being told to put the tablet back by the shop owner
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SHOPKEEPERS are being urged to be on their guard against a distraction scam.

It follows an attempted shoplifting incident that happened at the Advanced UK store on Chapel Street, Leigh, at about 4.45pm on 22 July 2015.

Police have now released CCTV footage of this incident to both warn shopkeepers of the scam and to identify those involved.

Three people - one man and two women - entered the store and the man distracted the shopkeeper by asking for his mobile phone to be unlocked.

One of the women then stood between the man and the third woman in an attempt to block the view of the shopkeeper, at which point the third woman is captured on CCTV clearly taking a tablet computer from the counter and concealing it under her jacket.

The shopkeeper however witnessed what happened and told her to put the tablet back, which the woman did, and the trio left.

Police are now appealing to anyone with information about the trio to come forward and are warning shopkeepers to be vigilant.

PCSO Sean Hurst said: “This was a brazen attempt to distract the shopkeeper and steal a tablet computer.

“Viewing the CCTV, it looks very much like a well-rehearsed plan by this trio to distract the shopkeeper so they could steal the computer, so we cannot discount the possibility this has either happened before or they could try it again somewhere else.

“That is why we’ve issued the CCTV footage so we can make shopkeepers and businesses aware of this distraction scam, and if these three people enter your store please be on your guard.

“If you think you know who these people are from the CCTV, then I would also urge you to get in touch with police.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.