Woman due in court after two Sunderland pensioners allegedly tricked at cashpoint

A woman has been charged with theft after two pensioners were tricked out of cash while shopping in Sunderland city centre.

Monday, 17th February 2020, 4:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 9:45 am

Last month, Northumbria Police received a report that two pensioners had been targeted within weeks of each other in Sunderland city centre.

On both occasions, it is claimed a stranger initially attempted to befriend the victim before walking them to a cashpoint on Market Square.

The woman distracted them as they inputted their pin number, before she confused them and secretly pocketed their respective bank cards.

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A cash machine. Picture by PA

Further funds were then withdrawn from the respective bank accounts at various ATMs using the stolen cards.

Police were made aware of the incidents, which occurred on Monday, January 6, and Saturday, January 18, and a 46-year-old woman was arrested and has since been charged with two counts of theft.

She is due to appear before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court later this year.

Now officers have asked the public to be aware of such incidents and make sure loved ones, particularly those who go shopping alone in the city centre, remain vigilant.

Inspector Jamie Southwell said: “Both of the incidents reported to us saw a vulnerable member of the public taken to a cashpoint by a stranger who had just tried to befriend them.

“The suspect has then deliberately tried to confuse the victim as they inserted their personal information, before stealing the bank card and later withdrawing sums of cash without their knowledge.

“Criminals often target the most vulnerable in our communities, especially those who are alone, in order to secure a quick win.

“As a result, I’d ask everyone in the city centre to help us detect and prevent this type of criminality by being vigilant and giving us a call if you see anything suspicious.

“Please also make sure you and any loved ones are wary if approached by strangers who are keen to accompany you to a cashpoint, and make sure your personal details are kept safe.”

Anyone who sees anything suspicious is asked to call 101. In an emergency, ring 999.