POLICE are appealing for people to be extra vigilant when using cash machines after £950 was stolen from a 64-year-old woman's bank account in a suspected Lebanese loop scam.

Police believe the Chippenham woman's debit card was stolen at the beginning of July, when she tried to withdraw money from a cash machine outside Sainsbury's in Chippenham.

The machine told the woman her card had not been recognised and had been retained.

But records have shown five different withdrawals, amounting to £950, were made in the following 13-day period.

PC Andy Fortune, of Chippenham police, said the facts suggested the woman has become the latest victim of the Lebanese loop scam.

During this fraud, suspects place a piece of card inside the cash machine slot and wait close-by. When an unsuspecting customer puts in their card, the machine asks for their pin number, but then tells them it does not recognise it and keeps the card.

But once the victim has gone, the con man or woman slides the card back out.

"Quite often in these cases, the victim remembers someone standing very close behind them in the queue for the machine," said PC Fortune.

"That person may even try and help them, asking for their pin number to try to 'get the card back out.'"

PC Fortune also revealed that a 34-year-old Chippenham woman was duped out of her card after trying to use it as Safeway in Chippenham earlier this month.

The woman, who thought her card had been retained, later realised that £100 was missing from her account.

"We would advise everyone to keep a close eye on who is next to them when using a cash machine and always to shield their pin number," said PC Fortune.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact Chippenham police on (01249) 654455.