Police, Fire & Court

Women sought after Rolex watches stolen during spate of “hugging mugging” thefts in Hale and Bowdon

By David Prior at

Two women are being sought after a number of Rolex watches were stolen during a spate of extraordinary distraction thefts in Bowdon and Hale.

Officers are investigating five separate incidents involving thefts or attempted thefts of high value watches using a distraction technique commonly known as “hugger mugging”.

This involves physical contact by offenders to distract victims while watches or jewellery are stolen.

Two of the thefts happened on Thursday 3rd May.

At around 3pm on South Downs Road in Bowdon, a woman got into the passenger seat of a parked car and proceeded to “hug” the driver – despite his efforts to push her away – and when the offender left the victim discovered his Rolex watch had been stolen.

Around 10.30pm later that day, a man was approached by two women on Ashley Road in Hale, who used similar physical contact to distract him and also steal his Rolex watch.

Two of the incidents happened on Cecil Road and Ashley Road in Hale

And at approximately 5pm on Wednesday 16th May, two women approached another woman from behind on Cecil Road in Hale, grabbing the victim’s wrist and removing her Rolex watch before fleeing.

Around 3.30pm the same day, two women approached the driver of a vehicle on Hill Top in Hale. One woman introduced herself and reached into the vehicle through the open driver’s window, but fortunately the driver was not wearing a watch and the women left empty handed.

An attempted theft, taking place at around 3pm on Thursday 3rd May on Langham Road in Bowdon, was also reported to officers.

Two women asked a man where they could stay for the night, but when the victim suggested a local hotel, one of the women took the man’s hand and suggested they stay with him.

The man thought they were looking at his watch and managed to leave.

And at around 3.30pm on Wednesday May 16th, two women approached the driver of a vehicle on Hill Top in Hale.

One woman introduced herself and reached into the vehicle through the open driver’s window. Fortunately the driver was not wearing a watch and the women left empty handed.

One offender is described as in her late 20s. She is of big build, with dark frizzy long hair.

The other offender is described as being in her early to mid-30s. She is of smaller build, with shorter hair which is straight and brown/mousey in colour.

Both were wearing a jacket with a white blouse and spoke with foreign accents.

The women may also wear glasses.

Sergeant Mark Allister-Smith of GMP’S Trafford Division, said: “The victims of these crimes have been left understandably distressed by their ordeal.

“We are treating these incidents as linked and are making extensive enquiries to trace the offenders.

“We would ask anyone who may have information to contact police immediately.”

Anyone with information should call Trafford South Police on 0161 856 7530.

Information can also be left anonymously with the independent charity, Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.