ELDERLY and disabled people have become the targets of distraction thefts at car parks in an Oxfordshire town.

Cherwell District Council is warning people who use car parks in Bicester to be careful after it received reports of a spate of incidents.

Thieves have been targeting elderly and disabled drivers and the council says it has reported this to the police.

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A council spokesperson added: "Don’t be distracted when paying for your parking. If you are approached by anyone behaving suspiciously, please report it to the police.

"The reports came through to us from APCOA, our car park operator, and the incidents have happened in Bicester."

Distraction theft is when someone steals something from another person after tricking them into giving their attention to something else.

Ways to prevent the theft include being on guard if a stranger tries to point something out to you or distract you in any way; using handbags that have a zipper or locking flap; keeping your bag closed when not using it and carry it close to your body; carry wallets inside your coat pocket or front pants pocket.

If you have been a victim of a distraction theft or witnessed an incident, call 101.

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