A supermarket shopper in Burnham-On-Sea has told how thieves have begun targeting single female motorists in the town.

Shirley Gray was shopping at the town’s Tesco store in Love Lane this week when her debit and credit cards were taken during a suspected distraction theft.

The incident took place just after she’d finished her shopping and was heading to her vehicle when a man approached her and said he had spotted two wires hanging under the front of her car and offered to help investigate.

Shirley helped him open the bonnet, leaving her handbag in the car. While she was at the front of the car an accomplice must have got into the vehicle and stole her debit card from her bag.

Meanwhile the man fiddled with the front of the car, removed the wires and told Shirley she should check her headlights before driving off.

It was only because Shirley stopped at Sanders Garden World in Brent Knoll a few minutes later on her way home that she realised her card was missing, though £50 in cash was still in her purse.

Initially she thought she might have left it at Tesco, but on returning there and finding it still missing she called her bank and found the card had been used less than half an hour later at Morrisons in Bridgwater, first to buy a small amount of groceries, and then to draw £250 in cash from a cashpoint.

Shirley recalls a woman standing close to her as she bought items in Tesco, and thinks that is where they got the PIN that allowed the withdrawal of cash.

Shirley is sure that if she hadn’t gone to Sanders she might not have missed the card, giving the thieves the chance to go on a lengthy spending spree.

Her bank has said it will refund the cash, as Shirley made every effort to conceal her PIN, and did not hand it over voluntarily.

A police spokeswoman said: “If you are on your own and a similar incident happens lock the car doors and put personal belonging in the car boot. We take cases of theft extremely seriously and are investigating the crime.”