Shoppers and residents using cash points in a busy high street are being targeted by distraction thieves and fraudsters, police have warned.

Chingford Green neighbourhood officer PC Darren Brand is working to install 'stay out' yellow boxes at all street cash points in Station Road, Chingford, following a series of distraction thefts and fraud incidents.

The yellow boxes have been "proven to reduce crime by acting as a psychological barrier to the criminal", PC Brand said.

It comes after a number of incidents, the most recent of which involved a young woman who drew out some cash at Natwest bank on August 23.

She noticed a man standing quite close to her when she withdrew £50 and walked away, whereupon he said to her ' you've left your account open, someone will your money'.

He told her to put her card back and re-enter her pin which prompted a screen to display 'emergency fund transfer code' but the machine kept her card.

She walked over to the post office to check her account to find £270 had been taken.

Judith Booth, 70, of Queens Grove Road, Chingford, was approached by a man while trying to withdraw money at Tesco's ATM on June 20.

After inserting her card, a screen came up to tell her to go inside to retrieve her bank card.

Knowing something was suspicious, she asked the man "five times" where her card was before deciding to walk home and phone her bank, who told her £250 had been taken.

She said: "I knew something was wrong and that Tesco had nothing to do with it.

"I should have just stood there and not walked away but the staff at Tesco weren't interested in helping me.

"It shook me up and since then I have lost my confidence."

PC Brand, added: "These are the latest in a series of cash point distraction thefts and frauds across the borough and Station Rd has definitely had its fair share of them.

"I cannot stress enough that if anyone approaches you in any way at a cash point then they are highly likely to be attempting to distract you in order to steal from you.

"If possible use the counter service instead and keep a constant check on who is standing around you.

"I would suggest that you simply walk away from the transaction if someone tries to engage with you and in the case where physical gadgets, such as a fake card reader have been placed on the machine, give the machine a good tug and a going over before you use it.

"These machines are very robust and if something comes off in your hand then it should not have been there in the first place."