Police are urging businesses to be vigilant after a series of mobile phone and cash thefts from business premises across east Lancashire.
Officers are investigating five crimes, at least three of which they believe to be linked in the Clitheroe area.
The first offence took place just before 2pm on Saturday, March 9, at Garays hairdressing shop on Wellgate, Clitheroe, when two female offenders, believed to be Romanian, have engaged the shop staff in conversation and attempted to confuse them by changing notes. They later found the tip box is missing.
Minutes later the same offenders are believed to have visited the Ooh la la hair and beauty salon on Wellgate, when they have distracted the staff by booking a pedicure and removed an iPhone from the desk.
Around an hour later, it is believed the same two women went to the Inn at Whitewell and asked bar staff to change £20 notes in a bid to distract them. One of the women has then reached over the counter and stolen an iphone5. The women have then left the hotel in a waiting Ford Sierra Maroon, driven by a man.
The women were described as being aged between around 18 and 25 years old, both with straight black hair. One of the women was wearing a black jacket and black trousers, and the other a black jacket and pink trousers.
On Sunday, March 10, at 1.40pm, a man, woman and child have attempted to note switch at Smells pet store on Norfolk Street, in Colne, before stealing a wallet and mobile phone from behind the counter.
Two days later, on Tuesday, March 12, a similar crime was committed at Touch hair and beauty, in Market Street, Colne, when two men have stolen a Samsung galaxy mobile phone from the reception desk whilst staff were busy with clients.
Inspector Judith Finney said: “I’d urge businesses to be vigilant, to keep their property secure, and to report any suspicious behaviour to police. The offenders will often try and distract the victim through changing notes or making bookings or purchases. Officers have been visiting vulnerable premises and an investigation is continuing.”
Police are appealing to anybody with any information about these offences to contact Lancashire Police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.