Moment brazen thieves distract woman and steal almost £1,000 from her bag as she queues in east London bank

This is the moment when a woman lost nearly £1,000 after being targeted by a group of thieves as she waited in a queue in a NatWest bank in east London.

A female suspect struck up a conversation with the victim to distract her while a man waiting behind bent down and removed an envelope containing cash from her bag.

The 46-year-old victim only discovered the theft when she attempted to deposit the £920 when she reached the cashier.

The distraction theft was discovered when police examined CCTV footage of the incident which took place at a NatWest branch on East Street in Barking at midday on September 16.

CCTV image: Police have released footage of suspects (Met Police)

Police efforts to identify the suspects have failed and today detectives appealed for help to the public.

The woman in the distraction gang is described as Asian, aged in her 20s with long straight brown hair. She was wearing a grey beanie hat, grey top, grey tracksuit trousers and black shoes.

The man who bent down to steal the envelope is described as of Eastern European appearance, aged in his 30s, with short black hair and a short black beard. He was wearing a cream-coloured T-shirt, blue jeans and blue trainers with white soles.

The third suspect is described as an Asian man, aged is his 30s, with receding short dark hair. He was wearing a black baseball cap, a dark-coloured body warmer, grey tracksuit trousers and white trainers. 

PC Matthew Trenfield-Brown, of the Met’s East Area Crime Command, said: “This was a devious theft where the victim appears to have been targeted and fallen victim to a planned distraction theft, with three people seemingly working together to commit the offence.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.