Business owners in Aberdeenshire have been asked to be vigilant following a number of distraction thefts and attempted distraction thefts across the region.
A number of incidents have happened at businesses including a jewellers in Ballater, hairdressers in Ellon and Fraserburgh, a café in Banchory and a tanning salon in Banff, between Thursday, 13 August and Friday, 14 August. On each occasion a man entered the shop, distracted the occupants and either made off with property or attempted to take property.
It is thought that the same male is responsible. He is described as having an Asian appearance and being aged between 25 and 30, around 5ft 4ins tall with short dark hair.
He had a foreign accent and on all occasions appeared well dressed.
PC Kev Marron who is the Crime Reduction Officer for Police Scotland in Aberdeenshire said
Aberdeenshire is a very low crime area and this can often lead to the people in our communities being very trusting and, on occasions, not as security conscious as perhaps they could be. Distraction thefts by their very nature can be confusing and often it is not until the theft has occurred it becomes clear that the individual has been the target of criminal activity. The low crime rate we enjoy in the North East can often lead to our friends in the business community having a relaxed environment which is not always conducive to the security of retail and other commercial outlets.
It is important that staff ensure that they exhibit a level of security on their premises to discourage criminal behaviour and that they remain alert. Consideration should also be given to the security of stock and both staff and customers personal belongings. I also would encourage retailers to be alert to any “customer” who behaves in an unusual or peculiar manner or if the nature of the transaction is suspicious. We would encourage staff to get the image of the culprit caught on any CCTV system, any vehicular registration number and direction of travel but only if it is safe to do so. Telephone the Police as soon as possible.
If any person has any information regarding these incidents or as to the identity of the suspect they should telephone Police Scotland on the non-emergency number 101 or if they wish to remain anonymous they can telephone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.