SHOPPERS in St Helens are being warned to be vigilant when using cash machines following a spate of distraction thefts.
An offender is believed to have targeted people withdrawing cash by diverting their attention before stealing cards which have been used to withdraw money from accounts.
Merseyside Police say the incidents occurred in the Church Street area between Saturday October 31 and Tuesday November 3.
The suspect is described as an Asian man in his mid 20s with a stocky build, wearing blue jeans.
Neighbourhood inspector Dave Brennan said: “The public should be alert when withdrawing cash from ATMs at all times. Any suspicious activity around machines should be reported immediately.
“Bank staff in the area have also been briefed to be extra vigilant and increased checks on ATM machines are being carried out. Neighbourhood officers will be providing increased high-visibility patrols to banks and post offices in the area.
“Any suspicious activity around ATM machines should be reported immediately.”
Anyone with information should call police on the non-emergency number 101, speak to officers in the area or ring independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.