Woman warns people to be vigilant after having bank cards stolen from her purse in Berkhamsted

Police are investigating the incident

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 10:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 11:06 am

A woman is warning people to be vigilant after her bank card and credit card were stolen from her purse in Waitrose car park in Berkhamsted, on Saturday, March 6.

Diana Woodward's credit card and a debit card were stolen from her handbag at around 11am on Saturday morning.

Police are investigating the incident, and she wants to raise awareness of what happened to her and warn others to be vigilant.

Police

She said: "I had unpacked my shopping and went to park the empty trolley in the trolley park no more than 20 feet away, when I was accosted by a woman asking for directions to the local dentist.

"She was aged about 40, pleasant looking and well dressed, with shoulder-length dark hair and a slight foreign accent.

"This encounter struck me later as a bit odd. Why didn’t she look up dentists on the internet if she needed one?

"Twenty minutes later I found that both cards had been taken from my handbag, which had been in the car, but not the cash or my driving license which were also in my wallet.

"She must have had an accomplice, who would have been out of my line of sight, behind me.

"They immediately went to Chesham and managed to clock up over £1,000 worth of spending at Sainsbury’s before the card was blocked at about 11.45am."

Police are investigating the incident.

"It was reported that a woman had left her handbag on the passenger seat of her vehicle while she unpacked her shopping," a spokesman for Hertfordshire Police said.

"As she went to return her trolley, she was approached by a woman asking for directions to a dentist.

"The victim then returned to her car and drove off. She later noticed that bank cards had been taken from her handbag and had subsequently been used to withdraw cash.

"If you believe you may have been approached in similar circumstances, or have information which may assist the investigation, please contact police."

Diana added: "Lloyds Bank has been very helpful, in both blocking further misuse of the card and fully reimbursing me, and Waitrose has sent me a lovely basket of flowers as a gesture of regret.

"I do hope that the police investigate this crime as I guess that these people regularly operate in this area, and both supermarkets have CCTV footage which may help to identify the woman.

"I had no idea that the limit was so high to get cash out of ATMs using the credit card, as I never use it myself in this way."

The police spokesman added: “We would like to remind people to please remain vigilant while out and about.

"Please do not leave valuable items, such as bags, purses, wallets and mobile phones, unattended at any time; it takes just seconds for an opportunist thief to strike.

“If you witness any suspicious activity or believe you have been approached in similar circumstances, please report it to police.”