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Great-grandmother warns of 'horrible scam' in Whetstone
A great-grandmother who had her tyre slashed and cash stolen after a visit to the bank is warning other potential victims.
Peggy Hurren, 89, of Cockfosters, was shopping in Whetstone before she withdrew £1,600 in cash from Barclays bank.
She walked back to her car in High Road where a woman wearing a headscarf was bending down near some money scattered on the floor.
Mrs Hurren said: “She was saying ‘money, money’ to me. I thought it was odd so I just told her it wasn’t mine and got in the car.
“But as I drove off two scruffy men were suddenly beside my car and I heard a funny noise coming from my tyre.”
The men called out ‘puncture’ and were pointing, but feeling something was not right, Mrs Murren drove round the corner and stopped at All Saints Church of England in Oakleigh Road North.
As she stopped her car a similar looking woman in a headscarf was also pointing to money on the floor.
Mrs Hurren ignored her and went to look at her tyre which had been slashed.
She said: “I was just looking at it when I suddenly heard my car door on the other side open and then shut.
“My envelope with my money was gone from my handbag.
“I was gutted. I got that money out for a holiday and to pay for some repairs – I saved hard for it.
"Everything I have is hard earned. I don’t do tears but I have not stopped thinking about it.”
The police arrived and told Mrs Murren they have had reports of similiar crimes happening in Barnet.
Mrs Murren, who has a son and daughter, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren, added: “My friends and family say I shouldn’t have taken so much out at once but I have always been my own boss. But next time if I am getting money out I will take someone with me.
“I’m not going to be a victim, it’s happened now, but I want to warn other people so it doesn’t happen again. It's a horrible scam.”
Police are looking for two men and one woman in connection with this incident. All three have Eastern European accents.
Detective Inspector Tony Caetano of Barnet CID said: "We have recently had cases reported in Hendon and Whetstone where people drawing cash out of banks have been distracted by criminals who put money on the floor as the victim gets near their car.
"These thieves have then used the uncertainty caused to steal the cash, in one case the car tyre appears to have been punctured to add to the confusion.
"I would ask residents to be aware of this crime and be particularly vigilant if you are drawing out money from a bank. If you are suspicious or approached in this way you should contact police immediately."