Shopkeepers who sell tobacco in Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea are being put on their guard against a possible scam to steal cigarettes.
It is thought it may have spread along the coast from Shoreham-by-Sea, where one trader recently lost £500 worth of cigarettes after being taken in.
On Tuesday (May 12) a convenience store in Sedlescome Road North, St Leonards-on-Sea, reported a suspicious incident.
Two Asian women asked for 10 packets of cigarettes, but then changed their minds and asked for 10 of a different brand.
This was thought to be an attempt to confuse the cashier before the women tried to pay with a card which was declined.
The pair left empty-handed but a similar incident in Shoreham-by-Sea led to £500 worth of cigarettes being taken and not paid for.
Both women had dark hair. One was 5’3” - 5’6” and in her mid 30s, heavily pregnant and wearing dark clothing. The other was in her late 20s and slim.
Inspector Dan Russell, of the Hastings neighbourhood policing team, said, “We don’t know what the women’s intention was but their behaviour in the shop aroused suspicion.
“It’s not known if they were local and it’s an isolated incident, but it’s as well that shopkeepers and customers are alert to such behaviour.”
Anyone seeing anything suspicious is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 101.
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