Police are urging shoppers and motorists to be vigilant after cash was stolen from a pensioner in Chesterfield.
At about 10.15am yesterday, a man approached a 75-year-old woman in Soresby Street car park and asked for change for the parking meter.
As she opened her purse, the man managed to distract the woman and stole cash from her.
She did not realise anything had been taken until later the same day when she reported it to police.
The victim described the man as around 5ft 5in tall with tanned skin. He was wearing a dark smart suit or coat with a tie and glasses. The victim said he spoke with a foreign accent.
There have been two other similar reports made to police in Chesterfield over the past week.
Sergeant Dave Nicholls, of the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "In these incidents, it appears older people have been targeted and thieves have used distraction techniques to steal cash.
"We would advise shoppers and motorists to be alert and to be cautious if you are approached by a stranger.
"Always be aware of your surroundings - and if you feel vulnerable or suspicious remember it's perfectly fine to just say no and walk away."
He added: "I'd also encourage people to mention the incident to relatives and friends who they think might be vulnerable to make them aware - it could help prevent them from becoming a victim of this type of crime.”
People are advised to:
- avoid carrying large sums of cash with them
- never leave valuables unattended
- keep belongings in a zipped pocket or bag
- use a purse chain if you have one
Anyone with information about the crime should call PCSO Karl Marsh on 101, quoting occurrence number 16000368380, or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.