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Victim fears copycat robberies means elderly women are being targeted by thieves in supermarket car parks

A 77-year-old woman believes cowardly thieves are targeting elderly women in supermarket car parks after she and her best friend were caught out by a copycat scam within weeks.

The women were returning to their cars in two different store car parks in Bishop’s Cleeve two weeks apart when they were approached by a man on a phone shouting for help to find the nearest hospital.

Both women later found out they had lost cash, one of £150 and the other of a debit card that was later used to withdraw large amounts of cash.

Victim says they are targeting the grey-haired older women Library image.

And when one of the women went back to the Tesco supermarket in Bishop’s Cleeve looking for what she then believed was a lost card, she was told to cancel it because another older woman had recently been taken in by the same con trick.

“It seems as if they going around car parks targeting mature ladies like me,” said the 77-year-old victim who broke down while talking about how she was robbed in the car park of the new Lidl in Bishop’s Cleeve this week.

“It’s always horrible when something like this happens, but it’s particularly unnerving at our age.

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“After it happened I could not sleep because I sat up all night going over and over it in my minds wondering what I did wrong.  My friend said she couldn’t sleep either when I go out now I am forever looking over my shoulder.

“It feels like we are living in a very evil world at the minute and everybody is too busy and overstretched  to care. People need to be made aware what is happening because these gentlemen could be doing it in villages all over Gloucestershire and unless people report it, nothing will happen.”

The lady, who does not want to be named, had been shopping for a friend who had given her a plastic wallet containing substantial amount of cash, when a man approached her in the Lidl car park Bishop’s Cleeve shortly before noon on Wednesday August 14.

Tesco in Bishop’s Cleeve

The victim believes the thieves saw the wallet at the till and then distracted her as she went to unload the shopping  so they could take it from her bag which she had placed in the car.

“It was raining so I had my hood up and he came towards  me saying ‘infirmiary, infirmiary’,” she explained.

“My first instinct was to send him to the bus stop by the chemist’s, but as I started telling him how to get there the alarm bells began to ring. Virtually the same thing had happened to my best friend a few weeks before.

“She was in the Tesco car park when someone a man on phone came up to he saying ‘hospital, hospital‘ and when she got home her debit card had gone.

“She went back to Tesco but it wasn’t there and the manager told her the same thing had happened to another woman.

“By then they had taken a lot of money from her account. I had a £150 in the wallet and it’s doubly upsetting because it was somebody else’s money, not mine.”

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The lady says she wants others to be careful of anybody who approaches them in a supermarket  car parks and other public places asking for help and asks anyone who thinks they have lost money or a card to question if they have been victims of a distraction robbery.

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed police were called shortly before 12.15pm following reports of a distraction burglary at Lidl in Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham.

Stock photo elderly care
(Image: Copyright Unknown)

       

“It’s believed that the victim’s wallet was stolen by a man who had asked where ‘the infirmary’ was,” said the spokesman.

“The woman gave the man directions and it’s at this point when her wallet was stolen from her bag by a second man.

“One of the men was described as being an Asian man who was 5ft 6 inches tall and of a slim to medium build. He had stubble, was wearing glasses with a dark green jacket and was carrying a see through Lidl carrier bag.”


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Anyone who was in the area at the time or has information is asked to call 101 quoting incident 178 of 14 August.

GloucestershireLive has approached Tesco and Lidl for comment.