POLICE are warning people to be on their guard following distraction thefts in Redditch and Bromsgrove where mobile phones were stolen.

Both incidents happened on Monday, February 29 with the first taking place at about 11.15am in the Abbey pub, Alcester Street in Redditch.

Two women sitting at a table there were approached by two men. One of the men was carrying a newspaper which he waved in front of the women's faces while talking to them in a foreign language. The women pushed them away and a short time afterwards one of them noticed her mobile phone was missing.

The offenders are thought to be either Eastern European or Asian. One of them is about 5ft 7ins tall, slim, with short black hair and was wearing a green or grey top and jeans. The other man is about 5ft 6ins tall, chubby, with short hair and wearing a black leather coat and jeans.

The second incident happened at about 12.40pm, in Costa Coffee in High Street, Bromsgrove.

A woman sitting at a table was again distracted by two men waving a magazine in front of her. After they had left she discovered her phone was missing.

One of the men is described as Eastern European, in his mid to late 20s, about 5ft 6ins in height, of average build and had a moustache which went half way down his chin. He was wearing a red woolly hat trimmed with white, a dark coloured bomber-style jacket and blue jeans.

PC Vicky Cozens said: "These two incidents are very similar and we are investigating whether they are linked.

"We would like to hear from anyone who was in either the Abbey pub in Redditch or Costa Coffee in Bromsgrove yesterday and saw the incidents, or thinks they know who these men are."

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to contact PC Cozens at West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000, quoting incident 179-S-200212, or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.