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Members in the North East of England are advised to be on their guard against a sneak thief who is targeting smaller retailers to steal cigarettes.

The man, who is described as in his twenties and of scruffy appearance, orders 60 Lambert and Butler Silver cigarettes and then distracts the server by asking about something else behind the counter such as spirits. When their back is turned he grabs the cigarettes and makes off from the store without paying.

The thefts have recently taken place in shops all across the North East, from Teesside to Tyneside and all points in between.

We are warning all members in the area to be extra vigilant if someone matching this description comes into your store and makes a similar request.

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