Police are warning members of the public to be wary of donating cash to street charity collectors without checking they are genuine.

Officers have received reports of ‘distraction’ type thefts following incidents where cash has been stolen from people who have stopped and spoken to a woman who said she was from a charity.

On Friday November 1 at around 12.30pm a man was in West Croft, Leominster, when he was approached by a woman who said she was seeking sponsorship. The man stopped and spoke to the woman and then later noticed his wallet was missing.

At around the same time on the same day a second man was approached by a woman in the High Street, Leominster, who was again seeking sponsorship. The man later noticed that cash had been stolen from his wallet.

Similar incident’s happened in Ledbury one on  Friday 18 October on Church Lane, at around midday a lady was approached by a woman claiming to be from  a charity. The lady has given over a small donation to the collector and on being asked to show her ID to support her donation, further money has been stolen from her purse.

The second on Thursday 24 October on the High Street, another lady was approached by a woman asking for a donation to a charity, before she handed the money over she became suspicious of the woman and declined to donate.

PC Liam Green, of Ross on Wye said: “We are still keen to talk to the lady in the CCTV image as we believe she may have information regarding the incidents. We have released a second image in the hope of someone recognising her.

 “Genuine charity collectors will carry identification, charity collecting tins and will not ask the person donating for ID. I’d like to urge people to be vigilant if they are approached and asked to donate money.”

Anyone who may have information on these distraction thefts is asked to call West Mercia Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.