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Friday 06 March 2015, 3:46 PM

Gloucestershire Constabulary would like to remind hoteliers and guests to be vigilant regarding the risk posed by organised crime groups operating in the county.

Hotels in Gloucestershire have been targeted over the past few years with criminals breaking into guests' rooms and stealing cash, debit cards,  mobiles phones and personal details.  With Cheltenham National Hunt Festival starting next week, and hotels throughout Gloucestershire full of guests attending Cheltenham Racecourse, the necessity for vigilance is particularly high.

These offenders are clever and often operate in pairs.  The commit burglaries when guests are out of their rooms, perhaps having breakfast or dinner, and they may have stolen a master key in the days prior to the burglaries.

They may pose as paying customers in the bar or restaurant so they can watch when guests leave the premises, or position themselves near reception so they can hear the room number that guests are allocated.  They will then break in to the room themselves or call their accomplice who is elsewhere in the hotel advising them of vacant rooms.

Once bank cards have been stolen the offenders often attempt to steal cash from cashpoints.  Using mobile phone information or driving licence information they even try 'over the counter' transactions at various banks.

Gloucestershire Police are urging hotel owners and guests to be wary of these criminals and the techniques that they use.   Guests shouldn't leave large amounts of cash, wallets or phones in their bedrooms.  People should always be cautious if they receive a call purporting to be from their bank.   These thieves and fraudsters are sophisticated and well rehearsed -
never reveal security information or PIN numbers over the telephone.

If you do witness any suspicious behaviour or are the victim of criminal activity please call 101 and report this to the police.