Shopkeepers in Kettering are being told to be on their guard against a known gang of distraction burglars.
At least half-a-dozen stores in the town centre have been targeted this month by the group of criminals who are believed to be from London.
The team of about 10 people enter the shops and distract the counter assistant while women pick the door locks and attempt to access the flat or house at the back.
The disturbing tactic is well-known, but is causing concern among shopkeepers this month after at least six were targeted over two days.
Kamal Paul said his two Stop and Shop stores in Montagu Street and Dalkeith Place were visited by the group two weeks ago.
He said: “They travel up from London and go from shop to shop in the town centre.
“While the men distract the attention of the staff the women pick the locks of the counter to get into the house.
“We are well prepared for them and on both occasions this month we’ve told them to get out.
“But it is a concern and I’d urge other shopkeepers to be on their guard against it.”
Another store targeted was Linnetts Newsagents in Sheep Street.
Owner Jaswinder Mann said a large group entered his store and asked the counter assistant to show them where a type of drink was.
Meanwhile, two women bypassed the counter but were stopped by Mr Mann’s daughter who was doing her homework in the house.
He said: “They said they needed the toilet, but we knew what they were up to and they left.”