Hugging scam: Elderly Chichester woman targeted during hug from a stranger

Police. Pic Steve Robards SR1817981 SUS-180108-084523001
Police. Pic Steve Robards SR1817981 SUS-180108-084523001

Police are raising awareness of a “hugging scam”, after an elderly woman was targeted outside a supermarket in Chichester.

The victim, aged 88, was approached by an unknown woman as she got out of a taxi outside Waitrose in Via Ravenna, said police.

She was hugged by the stranger, who said “welcome to Waitrose”, and in doing so stole the pensioner’s purse containing cash and cards, police said.

Investigations revealed the cards were attempted to be used at nearby Tesco Extra, in Fishbourne Road East, but the attempts were unsuccessful.

The incident occurred around 2.10pm on Saturday February 23, and police believe it may be linked to an organised crime group.

It is also possible other similar incidents have occurred which have not been reported.

If you recognise the woman in these images, or if you’ve been the victim of this scam, report it online or call 101, quoting serial 126 of 27/02.