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Ringing the changes awareness after incidents in Oldmeldrum and Ellon

By David Porter

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Police Scotland are urging businesses in the north east to be wary of suspicious activity and individuals, following reports of a number of distraction-type thefts, commonly referred to as ‘Ringing the Changes’.

Between Thursday, February 6 and Saturday 8 they have received reports regarding five separate occasions whereby two men have entered a shop and asked staff to exchange a large number of notes from one denomination, to another.

The staff are thereafter distracted or deliberately confused, enabling the men to obtain sums of money.

The incidents reported have involved Post Office and convenience store premises within Ellon, Oldmeldrum, Elgin, Tarland and Torphins.

Sergeant Keith Greig, from the Banchory Community Policing Team, said: "We are keen to trace the two men involved.

"They are described as being Mediterranean in appearance, aged in their late 20s or early 30s and have spoken in broken English.

"In one incident one of the males identified he was from Romania.

“Business owners and their staff should be alert and aware to this type of scam.

"Watch out for people requesting a large sum of money to be exchanged.

"It is possible they will target busy periods of the working day, providing an opportunity to confuse or distract staff.

"If you are in any doubt of a person’s intentions, consider asking another colleague for assistance or politely decline the request and notify the Police.

"Anyone with information or concerns should contact Police as soon as possible.”

Any information should be passed on via 101, quoting reference number 2236 of February 2.

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