At least six people were distracted and had cash stolen in Hertfordshire within recent weeks.

Nearly £5,000 has been stolen during distraction thefts in Watford, Borehamwood, St Albans and Welwyn Garden City, mainly from elderly or vulnerable people using ATMs.

According to police, the thieves work in a group of two or more to keep an eye out for the PIN, while another distracts the victim so that the card can be stolen.

In some instances, the thieves claim the machine is not working or it will swallow their cards.

Similar offences have been reported when using pay at pump or parking ticket machines.

Sergeant Karen Mellor said: “We are asking for people to be on their guard when using ATM machine and be wary of anyone trying to speak to you or distract you after your card has been accepted into the machine. “

People are advised be careful if someone approaches them or offers to help them use the machine.