CRICKET clubs across North and East Yorkshire are being warned to be on their guard after a thief described as a “grey-haired gentleman” apparently stole £150 from players’ wallets at a weekend match.

Paul Hesp, assistant secretary of Scalby Cricket Club at Scarborough, said the incident happened when his club played a Beckett League match at Sewerby, near Bridlington, on Saturday.

“Not long after our arrival at the ground, we became aware of an older grey-haired gentleman sitting on the benches under the pavilion who seemed quite talkative and pleasant,” Mr Hesp said.

“He seemed to fit in, was knowledgeable about cricket and we just thought he was a Sewerby supporter.

“At one stage, we believe he even helped carry the juice during the drinks break.

“While we were fielding during the second innings, he was seen in our changing room and claimed to have been sorting the toilets.

“We now believe this to have been a diversion while he stole a total of around £150 from players’ wallets.

“This only sunk in after the game when Sewerby said they had never seen him before and thought he was with us, while we thought he was with them.

“This was clearly a very clever and seasoned conman who pulled off a rather clever ruse.”

He said he had searched on the internet for similar crimes and was shocked to find there had been similar incidents across the country, involving money and valuables stolen from changing rooms.

“This man is clearly moving around the country.” he said.

“I would advise all sports clubs to be very wary of this man and if they should see him, to inform the police.”

A Humberside Police spokesman said officers were investigating a reported theft from the away team changing rooms at Sewerby Hall, The Pavilion, Church Lane, Sewerby, between 1.30pm and 5pm on Saturday.

“An unknown person has entered the insecure away team dressing room and stolen money from five wallets before leaving the area.

Inquiries are on-going to establish who may have been responsible.”