Police hunt for gang after Loughton cashpoint sting

POLICE are warning all cashpoint users to be extra vigilant when using the machines after crooks tricked a man out of �350.

CCTV images have been released showing how the incident unfolded.

Two men can be seen approaching the victim, a 57-year-old man from Loughton, at the Santander branch in High Road, Loughton, before he withdrew the money from the machine.

One of the men is captured flicking a �10 note beneath the victim before tapping him on the shoulder to alert him.

When he bends to retrieve the money, the second man is seen snatching the �350 from the machine and walking away.

A third member of the gang can also be seen distracting a woman in the queue.

The incident, which happened on August 25 at 1.50pm, came after a spate of thefts from cash machines.

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Epping Forest Crime Reduction Officer Pc Tony Ellis said: “The gang’s timing is incredible and they have this scam down to a fine art.

“The victim did not see the money being stolen. He saw that his card was returned but believed the cash was stuck in the machine.”

ATM users are being advised to be aware of their surroundings.

Mr Ellis added: “Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, discontinue the transaction and walk away. If someone tries to gain your attention in any way as you are carrying out a transaction, ignore them.

“Concentrate on the machine and retrieving your bank card and cash safely as a priority.

“If they are genuine they will still be there when your bank card and money are safely back in your pocket.”

The three men involved in this theft are all slim and between 5ft 5in and 5ft 7ins.

One was wearing a powder blue and grey waterproof sports jacket.

The CCTV video can be viewed at www.essex.police.uk/cashpointcrooks.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Pc Ryan Burgess at Loughton Police Station on 0300 333 4444.