Woman mugged at ‘thieves’ paradise’ outside supermarket

A WOMAN mugged at a supermarket cashpoint says the hidden-away corner is a thieves’ paradise.

Paige McMillan, 40, was using the hole in the wall outside Tesco, in Islington Green, at night when a pair of seasoned criminals stole �200 straight from her account.

She says the crooks took advantage of rows of delivery cages left in the street by the supermarket – forming a screen either side of the cashpoint that penned her in and hid the crime from passers-by.

She said: “Had Tesco’s rubbish not been there they probably would have chosen somewhere else. It made it a perfect breeding ground for crime.”

Ms McMillan, of Wenlock Road, Islington, who works in photography, had already inserted her bank card and entered the PIN-number when two men posing as beggars barged into the tight space between the cages.

She said: “A man barged in and put a newspaper over the screen. He kept saying ‘50p, 50p’ as if he was begging. Then his accomplice came up right beside me and put a newspaper on top of his friend’s.

“I was penned in and I knew I was in trouble because their body language became very intimidating.”

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The thieves used the newspapers to hide their hand movements as they withdrew hundreds from her account.

“I didn’t see them take the money out. The second guy’s newspaper was covering the other guy’s hand. They seemed to be pros. They knew the exact time to swoop in and how to punch the buttons without seeing the screen. Then they just sauntered away.”

Ms McMillan did not find out her bank account had been raided until the next day.

Tesco, in Islington Green, has been accused of clogging up the busy walkway for months. Phill Millership, 32, an architect who works in Exmouth Market, Finsbury, said: “There always seem to be delivery cages or pallets there. At times as many as 20 are stacked up either side of the cash machine, creating a long tunnel leading to the machine, which you can’t get out of.

“You can’t see through them at times and you’re hemmed in. I wouldn’t want to use it at night.

“And sometimes they just seem to be strewn all over the pavement, with scant little care for pedestrians, especially women with children and the disabled. I don’t know how they get away with it.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We are very sorry that the lady was robbed outside our store but are not aware of any similar recent incidents. We work hard to keep the number of cages to a minimum.”

Police are investigating and urge anyone with information to call 0300 123 1212 or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111.