Criminals have stolen "thousands of pounds" from unsuspecting motorists in Twickenham and Teddington by obtaining their bank card details through a Pay and Display machine scam.

Richmond Council and the Metropolitan Police in Teddington both warned residents and motorists on Monday (January 18) after receiving reports of the apparent scam in recent days.

The council warned that the scam had already cost victims "thousands" of pounds after their cards were "swallowed" by Pay and Display machines in the area, allowing those behind the scam to obtain their details and get access to the accounts.

In a statement warning of the scam, a spokesperson for the council wrote. 

"The latest scam involves criminals stealing the victim’s bank card by pretending that there is a problem with the parking machine and informing the victim that the machine has swallowed their bank card.

"The latest victims have had thousands of pounds stolen from their bank account within minutes of the crimes being committed.

"The crimes have taken place in Kew, Twickenham and Teddington, but they could happen anywhere in the borough.

"Motorists are reminded that it impossible for a parking meter machine to swallow bank cards as Pay and Display machines are manufactured so that cards can only be inserted part of the way.

"If your card disappears, you have been victim of fraud and should contact your bank immediately."

Police in the area have also warned motorists over the scam and said they were looking into it.

On Twitter, a spokesperson for Teddington North wrote:

"This has been happening in Teddington. We are aware of several incidents of this type involving males described as Asian, aged between 25 and 35.

"Please be aware of anyone standing near you when you use your bank card to pay for parking."