A warning has been issued after thieves targeted innocent business owners in a spate of distraction thefts across the Fylde.
Police are asking members of the public to be on the lookout for the scammers after phones were stolen in a number of incidents.
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During one incident, which happened on St Andrews Road in St Annes at around 12.45pm on Saturday, June 23, a man walked into a beauty salon holding a piece of paper with the word ‘painter’ on it.
Police say the man spoke quite forcibly to the member of staff and put the piece of paper down on her phone which was on the counter.
He is then reported to have picked up his piece of paper and, through very clever sleight of hand, he also picked up the phone and immediately walked out.
Similar recent thefts have also taken place in Lytham, Wesham, Wrea Green and Warton as well as Layton in Blackpool, police say.
Officers are now appealing for members of the public to help them identify a man they feel may be able to help them with their investigation.
A police spokesman said: "If anyone recognises the man in the CCTV, please get in touch.
"We know the quality of the stills isn’t fantastic but hopefully someone will recognise him.
"We’d also be really grateful if you could do everything you can to keep phones safe and out of reach.
"People who commit crimes like this are very plausible and often target busy people trying to make an honest living."
Anyone with information should contact police via email email@example.com quoting reference WA1814176.