Cash machine thefts

A WARNING has been issued by police after two thefts from the cashpoint at Sainsbury’s in St Albans last week.

On both occasions, a gang of men are believed to have fitted a skimming device to the ATM to take money from the card-owners accounts.

The first incident was between 5pm and 5.30pm on Wednesday, July 7,outside the store in Everard Close when a woman went to use an ATM with a blank screen and it swallowed her card.

She was then approached by a man who said the same thing had happened to him and she needed to insert her PIN to get the card back. When that failed she went into the store to report it during which time the man removed the card from the skimming device and used it to take money from her account.

A similar incident happened shortly afterwards at between 5.35pm and 5.40pm although on that occasion an error message came up on the screen. The card owner also went inside to report the incident to staff.

Police believe three or four men were involved in the scam, one of them standing nearby on a pushbike, and they fitted the skimming device to the cashpoint.

Pc Ben Kirby, neighbourhood officer for Sopwell, warned cashpoint users at Sainsbury’s or elsewhere in the area to be extra vigilant of any ATM that looked as though it might have been tampered with and people standing nearby.

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He added: “Never leave your card in the machine if it gets stuck and don’t necessarily trust the advice of strangers - they could be part of the scam.”

He urged anyone who saw men acting suspiciously on or around the times mentioned or any information about them to contact police.