POLICE say they are ‘keeping an open mind’ over a theory that a spate of cash thefts from pensioners at ATMs could be linked.

Cheshire Police continues to appeal for any information to identify two suspects wanted in relation to an incident in Warrington town centre.

At around 1.30pm on Saturday, February 24, an elderly woman attended the Halifax bank branch on Buttermarket Street.

Here, she attempted to withdraw money from a cashpoint outside, but during the transaction her cash card was not returned.

She was then approached by an unknown man who had been loitering with another man nearby.

The man advised the woman that the cash machine was not working and to raise this issue with inside bank.

Once the woman entered the bank, the man approached the cash machine and successfully obtained her card, which was then used to withdraw £800 from her account.

He, along with the second man, then left the area on foot in the direction of Golden Square.

After launching a CCTV appeal, Cheshire Police featured the case on Crimewatch last week.

Now, detectives say that in recent weeks, similar incidents have been reported to other forces across the country, including in Greater Manchester, South Wales and West Mercia.

A force spokesman said: “While it is not yet confirmed that these incidents are linked, officers are keeping an open mind and are exploring multiple lines of enquiry.

PD Graham Davies added: “We are determined to establish the identities of those involved in this very distressing crime and make them face the consequences of their actions.

“Current, evidence suggests that the two men pictured could be from anywhere in the country.

“They may also be linked to a wider organised crime group that visits locations outside of its own areas and deliberately targets vulnerable and elderly people.”

If you think you recognise the men, call Cheshire Police on 101, quoting IML-1764011, or visit the force’s website or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.