Child Used in Distraction Theft in Wimbledon Charity Shop

Police release CCTV footage showing two men they wish to question


CCTV has been issued of an incident of theft in a Wimbledon charity shop in which a young boy was used to distract victims.

The footage is from the Cancer Research shop, High Street, Wimbledon on Tuesday 11 October. Police were called at around 3.45pm to reports of a theft of a mobile phone.

The clip shows two men trying on clothes. As one of the men distracted the sales assistant, the other man walked over to the till with a small boy and got him to pick up the phone, lift up his top, and conceal the mobile in the front of his trousers.

The two men and boy then left the store with ladies' clothing - which they did not make any attempt to pay for - and the charity shop worker's mobile phone.

The first suspect [image ref 229029] is described as a large white man in his early thirties with a brown beard, wearing a grey long sleeve top with a green logo on his left breast, grey cap, black shoulder bag, black shorts and black and white trainers.

image ref 229029

image ref 229029

The second [image ref 229028] is described as a large white man in his late twenties wearing a dark blue t-shirt, dark blue peaked cap, dark red trousers, white socks and dark shoes.

image ref 229029

image ref 229029

The boy involved is described as white with short brown hair, about five years old wearing a dark coloured top with a green and white image on the front, dark red trousers and black and white trainers.

PC Sue Clarke, from Merton Borough, said: "We are keen to identify the two men in the CCTV footage who appear to use the child in their care to steal from those working in a cancer research shop. We would also urge anyone who witnessed the incident to contact us."

An NSPCC spokesperson said, "Anyone watching this footage will clearly be shocked by what appears to be a child being forced to break the law. If that’s what has happened, it’s abuse and it’s completely unacceptable.

"The images appear to show a vulnerable young boy who is unlikely to understand the full implications of these actions.

"We urge police and children’s services to work together and ensure the child’s welfare."

Anyone with information or any witnesses are urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

November 16, 2016