Phones, wallets and purses have been stolen during a series of distraction thefts in North Herts.

According to Hertfordshire police, offenders have been asking for directions before placing a piece of paper or map on top of the items. 

Victims have only later discovered that their valuables are missing.

Two examples given by Hertfordshire police took place on Friday (September 8).


Firstly, a phone was stolen at around 1.40pm, from a business in Church Lane, Royston.

A second phone was taken from a business in High Street, Ashwell, at around 2pm.

PC Hugh Roper said: “We have seen a recent trend in shops and businesses, that have public access, being targeted with one or more offenders entering a shop or business and distracting staff members.

"This can include pretending to be interested in an item that is for sale.

“While the staff member is distracted, the offenders steal valuable items on or around the counter area including staff side.

"Again, mobile phones, wallets and purses are the items which are most likely to be stolen by this method.

“We would remind staff at businesses that are open to the public, to keep their valuables secure."