Hundreds of pounds have been stolen from women’s purses in Maldon over four days.

An elderly victim lost £700 cash when she was distracted by thieves in Maldon High Street at about 1pm last Monday and her purse was taken.

A second woman went to Poundstretcher in the High Street at 9am the next day after withdrawing money from a cashpoint, and was approached by someone claiming she was returning a £10 note she had left hanging out of the ATM.

When the victim opened her purse, the suspect placed the £10 note inside and tried to steal a debit card from the open purse.

The victim realised what was happening and he dropped the card then walked off with another man.

A woman in her 80s had her purse containing £51 stolen from her bag in Iceland in the High Street at 11am last Wednesday.

And two elderly victims were targeted within minutes of each other in Morrisons in Limebrook Way the next day at noon. One had her card used at a nearby cashpoint following the theft.