Hugging scam: Police warn of disturbing new trend after elderly woman targeted

Sussex Police. Pic Steve Robards SR1817806 SUS-180108-084417001
Sussex Police. Pic Steve Robards SR1817806 SUS-180108-084417001

Police are raising awareness of a disturbing new trend called a “hugging scam”, after an elderly woman had her purse stolen by a stranged who embraced her.

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