Hero Tesco security guard foils plot to steal card from 80-year-old at Roneo Corner store

Tesco secuity staff Neil Connelly and his manager Andy Stringer in front of the store in Hornchurch

Tesco secuity staff Neil Connelly and his manager Andy Stringer in front of the store in Hornchurch Road, Roneo Corner - Credit: Archant

The elderly victim of a scam said a Tesco security manager deserves a medal for catching four people suspected of attempting to take her bank card.

Security guard Andy Stringer, 33, stepped in as two women used a map and bunch of flowers to distract the woman while alledgedly swapping her bank card with another.

Staff inside the Hornchurch Road store, Roneo Corner, had previously seen a woman watching customers as they entered their pin codes.

Mr Stringer, of Hornchurch, said: “It’s disgusting that thieves target vulnerable people – they wouldn’t target someone like me.

“But looking after customers and protecting them – that I really love. I have made a difference to their lives.”

The elderly woman was approached by two women as she went to drive away from the Tesco Extra.

Two women opened her door and pulled out a large map asking for directions.

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The victim, who preferred to remain anonymous, said one asked for a pen and paper, while the other “pushed” a bunch of flowers in her face and began kissing her cheek.

Mr Stringer said he watched as the women exchanged the victim’s purple Natwest bank card, which she was still holding, with a similar card.

After watching the shop’s CCTV, the police arrested the suspected thieves, while security guard Neil Connelly offered the victim tea and cake inside the store as comfort.

The woman told the Recorder: “Needless to say I was quite shaken and was very grateful for the support and kindness with which I was treated by Tesco staff.

“They certainly deserve a commendation.”

Mr Stringer added: “I want to make people aware of the scam. This has been happening quite a lot lately and it’s becoming a bit of a problem.”

Tesco Extra store manager Jon Popely said: “Andy and Neil have done a fantastic job helping our customer.

“Their vigilance and desire to help has made a big difference.”