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Witnesses sought to high value watch thefts in West Sussex

Police are investigating two robberies in West Sussex on Sunday (July 18) in which elderly men had watches stolen by women posing as charity collectors.

The first victim – a 70-year-old man - reported being approached by two women claiming to be charity collectors at a car boot sale in The Cattle Market in Chichester at around 11am.

The pair engaged him in conversation and touched his arms and body. He then realised his watch, estimated to have a value of around £10,000, was missing.

The first suspect is described as a white woman with a tan, around 22 years old, 5’8” and wearing a light blue coat. The second is a white woman with a tan, around a similar age and 5’6”.

Around an hour later, a 72-year-old man was approached by two women also claiming to be collecting for charity outside St Catherine’s Church in Beach Road, Littlehampton.

They asked him to sign their petition and touched his arm before he also realised his watch was missing. It is believed to be worth around £5,000.

The victim gave similar descriptions of both women, adding the taller one was wearing a mask, flowery top and long skirt. The shorter woman was wearing a pale dress. He also reported both women mentioned being from Eastern Europe.

Police are urging members of the public to be vigilant as detectives continue to investigate reports of similar incidents in the West Sussex area.

Detective Sergeant Vicky Guy said: “We understand that reports such as these may cause concern among local communities and we are investigating these incidents as a priority.

“Please be vigilant if approached by strangers who attempt to distract you and report any suspicious behaviour to us so we can take action.”

Anyone who may have seen two women with clipboards, has dash-cam footage from either incident or information that could help with the investigation, is asked to report it to police online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Overdrive.

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