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Watch: ATM scam warning as ‘tough cookie’ gran fights off robbers

Police have released CCTV of a 72-year-old who fought off would be scammers, in the hope of catching the two men responsible.

Eileen McCartney managed to wrestle her bank card away from a man who tried to steal from her as she withdrew cash from an ATM in Wigan town centre.

Officers say two men and a woman were part of the scam, and could be operating across shopping areas in the region.

One scammer distracted Eileen by putting a £20 note on the floor and tapped her on the shoulder to suggest she had dropped it, whilst distracted a second man reached over and swapped Eileen’s bank card with a fake one.

Luckily Eileen quickly realised what was happening and managed to wrestle her bank card out of the hands of the second man so he could not steal anything from her.

Eileen recognised the distraction technique from a TV programme she had watched.

The scammers got away and police are still looking for them.

PC Rod Ashton from Wigan’s Town Centre team said: “Eileen is a tough cookie, she’s switched on and she was quick to realise what was going on.

“Unfortunately, not everyone will realise they have been scammed until it is too late.

“We have seen an increase in the number of these distraction robberies across Greater Manchester and I’ve spoken to colleagues in neighbouring forces who have confirmed it is also happening there too.

“Scammers are getting away with thousands of pounds sometimes, and they are targeting the elderly and vulnerable in particular.

“We are appealing to the public to have a look at the CCTV and see if they recognise the scammers, we are determined to bring them to justice.

“Even if you don’t recognise them, take a look at the CCTV and watch the scam. We want people to be aware that these people are out there, and hopefully Eileen’s experience can help others avoid being scammed in the future.”

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.