Shopkeepers in Leominster are being urged to remain vigilant following suspicious activity in the market town on Thursday.

A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said:

“I wanted to advise you all at this time of some suspicious activity that has been reported by Leominster Shop Watch to Leominster Safer Neighbourhood Team.

“On Thursday 4th JULY 2024, several independent and corporate shops/businesses reported 2 males entering there store, seeking to purchase large quantities of cigarettes and vapes, between £600-2000. 

“The purchases were attempted to be paid on card. 

“Though no criminal activity can be proven at this time. The concerns here, are that nationally there appears to be an increase in what is known as ‘Chargeback Fraud’.

“Chargeback fraud, occurs when a consumer makes a purchase, often online with their bank card and then requests a chargeback from the issuing bank after raising a dispute over receiving the purchased goods or service, knowing that they are lying to the bank.

“In addition, questions have to be asked as to the legitimacy of the bank card they are using, the rightful owner and their intentions for buying such a large quantity of products.

“If they seek to pay in cash, shop keepers should make sure to check the bank notes to make sure they are not fake.

“The purpose of this message is to bring this behaviour to your attention, to reduce the chance of a victim falling foul of the activity.

“If you have any concerns or wish to report a crime of this nature or similar, please contact the police on 101 or 999.

“Furthermore you can also report scams and or fraud to the agency called ACTION FRAUD.”