Derek Freestone was sitting in the passenger seat of his friend’s Mercedes, parked in the picturesque Hampshire fishing village of Emsworth, when two women knocked on the window and asked him to sign a petition for a school for the deaf
Derek Freestone, a retired wine merchant from Birchington, Kent, was with a friend on his way to the Goodwood Festival of Speed motor racing event when they stopped in Emsworth at 3:15pm on July 7 last year to pick up medicine from a pharmacy in the city .
He was sitting in the passenger seat of his friend’s Mercedes, parked in the picturesque Hampshire fishing village of Emsworth, when two women knocked on the window and asked him to sign a petition for a school for the deaf.
No sooner had he done that than one of them lunged and wrapped her arms around the 77-year-old as she tried to kiss him.
Shocked, he barely thought of the second lady, who had shaken his left hand.
Only after pushing the first woman away and closing the door did he realize that his gold Rolex – bought 20 years ago for £4,500 but now worth £12,500 – was gone.
“I jumped out and shot around the car, but there was no sign of them. It has happened so quickly,” said Mr Freestone, who is still reeling from the robbery three months later.
“It really hit me in the stomach. What the hell have we done to our country that this could happen in broad daylight?’
He said the two women were dark-haired, one in her late twenties, one in her late thirties and about six feet tall and six feet tall.
Alan Bruce, whose £14,000 watch was stolen by two women
Within a day, the gang had moved on to their next target – Alan Bruce, 63, who lives on the edge of Ferndown Golf Club and seven miles away in Wimborne, Dorset, when he was robbed at about 11am on July 15th. .
After parking his Audi TT Sport, he was approached in the city center by two women with a clipboard. He estimates that both were in their late twenties or early thirties.
“The larger one wore jeans and a dark top, the shorter one wore a long, brightly colored dress,” says Mr. Bruce, a divorced father of two who travels frequently for his job as a marine engineer.
“I pick up accents and I’d say they were Albanian or Bulgarian. They said, ‘We are petitioning a center for the deaf’ and would I sign a document? I said no problem.’
Left-handed and with his £14,000 gold Yacht-Master Rolex on the same hand, he signed the petition. Then the younger woman said she loved his aftershave and asked where it came from. To his surprise, she then asked him for a hug.
Alarmed, he instinctively placed his right hand on his back pocket to protect his wallet and pushed the women with his left hand before walking away.
It wasn’t until he did so that he realized his Rolex was missing, as the double clasp had been ripped off without him feeling a thing.