Warning over distraction thefts in Tettenhall
Residents in a Wolverhampton village have been warned to keep their valuables safe and stay on their guard after a spate of bag snatch thefts.
Councillor Sohail Khan, for Tettenhall Regis, said he was “extremely alarmed” at a recent growing number of reports of people in Tettenhall falling victim to distraction thefts.
Police in the village said they had been told about a couple driving around the area and stopping people to ask for directions in order to distract them before stealing handbags, purses or wallets.
As well as increasing their public profile in and around the area, officers are now warning shoppers and pedestrians to be extra vigilant in talking to strangers or spotting any suspicious behaviour.
A spokesman for Wolverhampton Police said: “Anyone living in the Tettenhall area should make local family, friends and loved ones aware of recent incidents in which bags and purses have been stolen by two individuals claiming to be ‘lost’ in the area.
“On several occasions, a man and woman have stopped in a black car and asked unassuming passers-by in the village for directions, usually to New Cross Hospital.
“While pretending to listen to directions, one of the two offenders has then removed the person’s bag, purse or wallet before making off in the car.
“We have had a number of reports of this criminal activity taking place in the area. If anyone has any sightings of this couple or any other suspicions, please call Tettenhall police on 101 or always dial 999 in an emergency.”
Councillor Khan said people in the village needed to be extra vigilant and look out for one another.
“It’s a very sad state of affairs but it seems to be a sign of the times unfortunately,” he said.
“The government has pledged 20,000 more police officers, which is good news, but obviously it’s going to take a considerable amount of time to roll them out.
“I would urge people to keep their valuables locked away and generally be more aware of their surroundings. We need to protect ourselves and each other, and I would ask people to look out for the elderly especially.
“It’s extremely alarming that this sort of criminal activity is taking place. We all need to be particularly vigilant when out and about, especially at night,” he added.
Meanwhile a warning has been issued over gangs of teenagers knocking on doors and demanding homeowners hand over cash in Wednesfield.
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