Ilford banks unite against town centre cash thefts

PICKPOCKETS and pin code thieves be warned – the eyes of almost every bank manager in Ilford Town Centre are upon you.

Police have teamed up with a string of high street banks to highlight the dangers of distraction theft in Ilford Town Centre.

Officers were in High Road, Ilford, last week with representatives from Britannia, Halifax, Yorkshire, NatWest and Nationwide building societies and banks.

They gave out leaflets to people telling them how to avoid giving away their pin number, not to get sucked in by “distraction” thieves and avoid falling prey to dipping” or pick-pocketing.

Police say the crimes are not happening at an alarming rate, but they are occurring often enough to concern Ilford South Safer Neighbourhood Insp Dave Brewster.

He said: “They are opportunistic crimes, but there are people there waiting for these opportunities to arise.

“This is a combined effort to raise awareness of ways that we can reduce opportunities for would-be thieves.

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“When you see vulnerable and old people having their Christmas shopping money targeted it really does get to me, and something needs to be done.

“It’s a matter of looking after your money, not letting anyone see your pin number and keeping your cash close to you.”

Banks are also being encouraged to sign up to Ilford Town Centre Against Crime, a scheme which involves businesses sharing radio connections with police and CCTV operators so they can raise early concerns about suspicious behaviour.

Scheme co-ordinator Reg Woda said: “It’s excellent that the banks are keen to get involved.

“When you call a bank you go through to a call centre somewhere and you’re never able to get through to the person you want to speak to, so it’s nice to see the people from inside.

“There is all round strong support.”