Police urge caution for local businesses

Businesses in the county are being urged to be on their guard after reports of people visiting banks and post offices asking to change money.

At around 12.30pm on Friday, June 21, a man went into Barclays Bank in Station Road, Ashington, asking to swap notes to coins.

He then asked to further change the money and it was later discovered that an amount of cash had been stolen.

At around 2.15pm, again on Friday 21 June, two women went into the post office in Hepple, Rothbury, asking to change £10 notes for £20 notes. The post office staff refused and the women left.

At around 2.30pm, on the same day, a man went into the post office in the Spar Eight till Late in Station Road, Bedlington, asking for a sum of money to be changed into £20 notes. Shop staff were distracted and an amount of cash was removed before the man asked for the money to be further changed into £10 notes.

Finally on June 21, again at around 2.30pm, a man went into Barclays Bank in Bridge Street, Morpeth, asking to change some money. Staff refused as he was not a customer and he left the bank.

Enquiries are ongoing and it is not known if any of these incidents are connected and police are appealing for anyone in the area who has any information concerning these crimes to get in touch with them on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Sharon Wilmore- Greaves said: “Staff working in banks, post offices and retail premises need to be aware that there are criminals who travel around the area looking to confuse staff members by asking to change large amounts of money.

“As they do this they try to distract the member of staff by changing the type of notes or asking for it back, causing confusion and trying to make off with cash.

“I’d ask all local businesses to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or incidents to police on 101 or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”