Police are urging people in Clitheroe to be on their guard while out and about in the town centre.
The warning follows a spate of distraction thefts being reported in various premises such as pubs, hair salons, nail bars and estate agents in Clitheroe, Burnley and Preston city centre. Offenders are believed to be travelling throughout the area in order to target victims and steal high-value smartphones.
A police spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary said: “Offenders usually employ a number of tactics in order to distract victims and steal mobile phones.
“The more common ones are to use items such as maps, leaflets or clipboards to conceal and steal smartphones left on tables or counters. Therefore, we would like to advise people to keep your valuables hidden from view and keep your wits about you. Don’t leave items such as smartphones out in the open for everyone to see”
He added: “And if you see anything suspicious then telephone the police on 101 or speak to security staff where available. Don’t make it easy for criminals to steal your valuables.”
The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit advises owners to use security or PIN locks to prevent phones being used if stolen.
Also, keep a record of your phone’s IMEI number (found by keying in *#06#), register your device for free on www.immobilise.com or install “track me” or “find me” apps.