Police Scotland is reminding retailers in the Turriff area to remain vigilant against retail fraud attempts following two recent incidents in the Garioch area of Aberdeenshire.
Two individuals entered a petrol station and a retail store last weekend with the intention of confusing staff by using distraction techniques to commit theft.
They attempted to get staff to change large denomination notes to smaller denominations. On both occasions staff became suspicious and refused to exchange the notes.
One male was described as being Central European, in his early thirties, about 5′ 7″, slim build, with short dark hair and was wearing white blazer, white sunglasses, black trousers and white dress shirt. He had a gold sovereign ring on right hand.
The second male also appears to be of Central European origin, possibly Romanian. He was about 6′ tall, short black hair and heavy facial stubble. He was wearing a black leather bomber style jacket, white checked collared shirt, also open at the neck and dark blue jeans.
Constable Kevin Marron of the Police Scotland Crime Reduction Unit said
This scenario is not new and this, or variations of it, have occurred before in the area. It is known as ‘Ring the Changes’. This type of distraction theft can be very confusing for staff and the culprits are well practised in this form of deceit. I would advise all retail staff to be vigilant of any unusual transaction requests from customers.
Inspector Colin Mowat of the Police Scotland Community Protection Unit advised,
We have previously committed staff to visiting many of the retail premises in our communities to alert retailers of this type of fraud and this has resulted in individuals being taken before the courts.
It is great to see that retail staff are becoming alert to this type of crime and telephoning the police. They are to be commended for their efforts, although the experience of these latest incidents demonstrates that there remains a need for vigilance as this sort of crime is continuing to be committed.
Anyone with information concerning these incidents or any similar retail crime should contact Police Scotland on 101. Alternatively, they can report information to Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555 should they wish to remain anonymous.