Police warn of under-reported 'hugging scam' which sees unwitting victims pickpocketed
Police have issued a warning over a new so-called 'hugging scam' used by organised crime groups to steal from vulnerable elderly people.
The scam sees pickpockets attempt to cuddle victims in order to steal their possessions.
Police in Sussex issued the warning to locals in an effort to raise awareness, after an elderly woman had her purse stolen as she got out of a taxi outside a supermarket in Chichester.
The 88 year old was pickpocketed by a woman who hugged her and said, "Welcome to Waitrose", according to police.
As the thief hugged the woman, she stole the pensioner's purse which contained her cards and cash.
Organised crime groups
The incident occurred at around 2:10pm on Saturday 23 February, and police believe it may be linked to an organised crime group.
A Sussex Police spokesman said, "Investigations revealed the cards were attempted to be used at nearby Tesco Extra, in Fishbourne Road East, but the attempts were unsuccessful.
"It is also possible other similar incidents have occurred which have not been reported."
Police are requesting for anyone who has any information about the incident, or have been the victim of this type of scam, to report it online.
Alternatively, you can call 101 and quote serial 126 of 27/02.