BUSINESSES in Farnworth are on alert following a number of alleged distraction thefts in the past two weeks.

On Tuesday afternoon, a man is said to have stolen a mobile phone from a member of staff in estate agent Bolton Properties, in Market Street. 

Jesse Daley, 24, was alone in the office when she says the incident happened. 

She said: “He came in and was talking in a foreign language to me, I didn’t understand a word he was saying.

“He was shoving a piece of paper in my face with foreign writing on.

“He walked around my desk and I picked my phone up because I was scared. Then he pushed me back into my chair, grabbed my phone, ran out of the shop. and jumped into a car that was waiting outside.

“It was absolutely awful because I was in on my own as well.”

Miss Daley’s manager Chris Baron was out on a house viewing when the incident allegedly happened but says he will be installing security measures to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again. 

He added: “I was absolutely fuming when I got back to the office. It’s very cowardly.

“We are going to invest in some personal attack alarms for the staff.”

The alleged theft follows a similar incident last Monday less than 300 yards away, in sunbed shop Tan and Tone. 

A member of staff had her mobile phone, money, driving licence and bank cards stolen.

General manager Kirsty Clarke said: “He came in and pretended he wanted some help and he was speaking in a foreign language. 

"A member of staff put her stuff on the desk, and while they were talking he covered her phone and everything with a piece of paper and then took it.

“Then on Tuesday, a man came in again and didn’t take anything but then he went down the street to Bolton Properties.

“Luckily we’ve got CCTV which has been passed to the police.”

If you have any information, contact the police on 101.