Police have warned robbers are targeting elderly people in the car park of the Camberwell Morrisons and snatching their bank cards.
One local woman branded the culprits “low-lifes” while another suggested the economy was to blame for driving up crime.
In a statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, Camberwell police wrote that criminals “inform users that the pay-by-phone system isn’t working”.
They then guide unsuspecting customers to card machines where, having watched them enter their PIN number, steal their bank cards.
Sue Murphy, 72, spoke to the News while doing her shopping at the supermarket on Butterfly Walk. She said: “They’re just low-lives aren’t they? They’re just not nice people. They don’t work so they just get money where they can by robbing people and it’s really really bad.”
Frederick Carter, 66, said: “In this area, nothing surprises me… it’s roughish.”
Police fear this sort of crime is being committed elsewhere in Southwark, with people using cash machines in Camberwell Green and Denmark Hill being targeted.
Locals often complain that Camberwell Green has become a crime hotspot. Speaking to this paper in September, local resident Lorenzo Lerca said there were “a lot of dodgy people around”.
Police data for September, the most recent available, showed 53 violent and sexual offences, 36 anti-social behaviour offences, 25 thefts and 16 burglaries were recorded.
Asked how the situation could be improved, Frederick said Morrisons was already doing its part.
“They’ve got cameras all over the place. You’ve even got security guards here as well as store detectives,” he said.
One man, who gave his name as Paul, said: “It’s sad really isn’t it but it’s the state of where we are after the issues with the war, covid, people being out of work. It’s going to happen more and more.
“It’s easy to say the government should be doing something about getting people back into work but we all have to look after ourselves at the end of the day.”
A Met Police spokesperson shared the following advice: “Please be wary of any ‘helpful’ people around payment machines and cash machines, always cover your PIN whenever entering it.
“Consider using pay-by-phone apps and always use cash machines inside banks or supermarkets or preferably pay for goods using the contactless devices.”
Camberwell Green Store Manager Dave Ramkorun said: “We at Morrisons in Camberwell are always very cooperative with the Police to fight crime in the region. Whenever there is a request we respond promptly. Unfortunately, we are not aware of this particular matter.”