Thieves posing as charity workers are targeting golf club members in southern England

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 1, 2021 15:06

Two ‘highly professional’ female thieves have been repeatedly stealing expensive watches from men in golf club car parks in the last year, according to the police.

The duo, said to have either Eastern European or Spanish accents, particularly target lone men in their 70s outside top golf clubs and have done this at least 14 times since July 2020.

They typically pose as charity workers with clipboards and steal the watches as their victims sign a petition.

They have also attacked the men, ripping the watches off their wrists, and even followed them into cars until they got the watches or jewellery, before escaping via a waiting car.

It is thought the pair have struck seven times in Poole, Wimborne, Wareham, Ferndown, Highcliffe and Poundbury in Dorset in the past two months.

One theft occurred in the car park of Ferndown Golf Club while another happened next to a golf club in Poole.

In Hampshire, two robberies took place in golf club car parks.

In July 2020, Hampshire Police issued e-fit descriptions of two women who mugged a 78-year-old man of his Rolex watch in Emsworth, Hants. At the time police said there had been four similar thefts of Rolex watches.

Officers have warned elderly men to be on their guard while wearing high-value watches while out in public.

Both women are said to be aged in their 20s or 30s and between 5ft 2ins and 5ft 9ins tall. They both have dark hair and Eastern European accents although some victims have believed them to be Spanish.

Alan Bruce, who lost his £14,000 gold Rolex watch, described the pair as ‘highly trained professionals’ who are likely to be part of a wider gang.

Mr Bruce, a 63-year-old marine engineer, was walking in Wimborne town centre on July 15 when he was approached by the pair.

He said: ‘One had a clipboard and the taller one was making out she was deaf and they wanted signatures for a petition for a new deaf centre.

“I signed it with my left hand, which was the same hand my watch was on, and one of them then grabbed hold of me and went to hug me. I straight away put my hand on my pocket where my wallet was and pushed her off and walked away.

“I walked around the corner and realised they had taken my watch. By the time I went back they had gone. It was just a few seconds so they must have had a car waiting for them.

“I have worked in some real hot spots around the world and consider myself to be streetwise and this is the first time I have been hit.

“These women are highly trained professional dippers who know what they are doing.

“They are probably part of a bigger gang from London and are targeting soft targets in affluent areas of the south.”

The recent spate of robberies appears to have begun on May 19 at Stoneham Golf Club, near Southampton, followed by an identical incident a week later at Wellow Golf Club, near Romsey, Hants.

Both times the pair got their victims to sign a petition before covertly stealing their Rolexes.

On May 30 they turned up in Bingham Avenue, Poole, close to Parkstone Golf Club.

On June 11 one of them got into a car being driven by a man aged in his 80s in a car park in Wareham.

When the man told her to get out she grabbed and scratched at his arm. Only later did he realise his watch had been taken in the bizarre exchange.

Then on July 14 they turned up at Ferndown Golf Club where one of them approached a man aged in his 70s in the car park, grabbed his arm and took the watch from his wrist.

She got into a waiting vehicle, believed to be a black Ford Focus, and made off from the scene.

Dorset Police have acknowledged ‘a number of incidents of a similar nature’.

Police Constable Jim Perks, of Christchurch Police, said: “We have had a number of incidents of a similar nature and I would again remind people to be vigilant and be particularly careful if you are wearing any high value watches or jewellery and are approached in suspicious circumstances.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 1, 2021 15:06
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