Snapped: Suspected NHS fraudsters target grieving woman at Bury WAKE to steal mobile phone

By Glen Keogh

Masquerading as NHS workers, two conmen managed to steal a woman’s iPhone – at a Bury wake.

With no hint of respect to their surroundings, the men pretended to offer the 35-year-old victim NHS leaflets but instead distracted her long enough to steal her mobile phone.

The woman was at the Welcome Inn on Bury Old Road in Whitefield for a wake following a funeral, and put her phone on the table next to her.

Despite the woman’s repeated pleas for the men to let her grieve, they fanned four fake NHS flyers over her phone, eventually leaving with their bogus leaflets – and her mobile.

Police Community Support Officer Sofia Khatoon said that these types of distraction thefts are sadly becoming more common.

“The offenders use a veneer of respectability to suggest they are collecting for good causes, but instead are simply using this as a shield to steal people’s property,” she said.

The incident happened at about 3.10pm on March 26 and police have issued CCTV images of two men they want to speak to in connection with the incident.

They are believed to have got into a red Vauxhall Corsa parked opposite the pub and drove off.

RECOGNISE THESE MEN? Police want to speak to them

PCSO Khatoon added: “We have issued an excellent CCTV still which captures the suspects in good quality.

“I would urge people to look very closely at this image and if you think you recognise the two men then please come forward immediately.

“I would also urge people living and working in the Bury area to remember these two men from the picture and if you think you seeing them heading your way in a pub or somewhere else, call the police straight away.

“There are legitimate collectors from bona fide charities who do come round pubs and restaurants asking for donations – make no mistake, these are out and out criminals.

“I would strongly urge people to be vigilant with their belongings and keep them in handbags, wallets, coats or purses which are out of sight so you do not fall victim to this type of theft.

The two offenders are described as being of Eastern European appearance, with dark hair. One was wearing a flat cap and had long side burns, the other a beard.

Police also believe the same men may be responsible for other similar thefts throughout Bury.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.


Related Articles