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July 12 2013.

Thieves distracted a pensioner by asking her for help and then stole her bank cards. The 71-year-old was putting her shopping into her car in the underground Morrisons car park in Dane Road, Seaford, when she was approached by a man at about 10.45am on Tuesday 9 July.

The man showed the woman a map and began asking her directions to London.

It is thought while she was being distracted either he or another person took the bank and credit cards from her purse.

The first she was aware of anything wrong was when her bank contacted her following a series of unauthorised purchases on her cards.

The male who spoke to the woman is described as being dark, tall and well built. He was in his 40s, spoke with a European accent and was wearing a flat round cap.

Another man the victim saw standing nearby was tall, tanned and thin.

It is the second incident of its kind in Seaford in the last few weeks and there have been reports of similar offences across the county.

PCSO Cathy Clarke said: "This type of offence is becoming quite common and we think that teams are responsible. They target older shoppers and distract them to steal their cards, sometimes telling them they have dropped money and in this case using a map.

"We think one of the gang stands by when the person pays for their goods and makes a note of their card PIN and only then are they followed and distracted.

"I would urge people to try to cover the chip and pin terminal when entering their number and to not allow themselves to be distracted afterwards.

"Also if you are shopping and see people acting suspiciously or loitering around the tills, please tell a member of staff."

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting serial 0582 of July 11 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.