Fraud alert after bank van stolen in Lothians

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BANK chiefs have warned customers they are at risk of fraud and identity theft after a delivery van containing their personal documents was stolen from outside a branch.

• Victim Lynne Paton (right) with husband Roddy and Diane Whyte. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The thief made off with a van belonging to delivery firm TNT Express Services while the driver was dropping off leaflets to the Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Bridge Street, Musselburgh.

Around 20 customers were phoned by the bank to warn them documents belonging to them had been taken during the heist on Monday night.

RBS customer Lynn Paton, who was among the victims, had photocopies of her driving licence and passport stolen, along with a number of other papers which she was using to set up an account for a fledgling pipe band.

And the 34-year-old nurse criticised the bank for waiting until Wednesday to inform her of the theft, saying she would now be "worried about being vulnerable to a lifetime of identity fraud".

Police have now appealed for anyone who may have information about the theft, which happened at around 10:10pm on Monday, to come forward.

Mrs Paton said she had submitted the documents to the RBS branch in the High Street in Prestonpans, where she lives.

Following the theft, bank staff told her that the van had picked up the paperwork to deliver to the RBS offices at The Gyle before it was stolen.

It is not known how the thief managed to make off with the white Ford Transit van.

Mrs Paton said: "The bank suggested I pay a security company 14 to protect myself against identity fraud. They make sure that each time a credit application is made in my name, it flashes on the screen that my details have been exposed. It won't stop me getting credit, but it'll be a hassle."

Mrs Paton and two friends each submitted documents to set up the club, and both her fellow organisers also had their property stolen.

She said: "The bank were already very slow in setting up the account as I first handed the documents in weeks before. I actually called to complain about the time it was taking on Wednesday, and that's when they told me about the van theft.

"I think it's ridiculous and incompetent not to tell me until then."

A RBS spokesman said: "We can confirm that a TNT van was stolen outside a branch whilst making a routine delivery. The police are currently carrying out an investigation into the theft.

"The van did contain some correspondence for a small number of customers and we have made these customers aware of the situation. We have taken the normal precautions to protect our customers from the risk of fraud and have also provided customers with relevant advice on fraud prevention."

A TNT spokesman said: "TNT Express Services can confirm the theft of a sub-contracted vehicle in Bridge Street, Musselburgh on 19 April.

"TNT takes all security matters extremely seriously and is co-operating fully with the police investigation.

"The company has also launched its own internal inquiry into the circumstances surrounding this incident."

A police spokesman said: "The stolen vehicle was last seen driving towards the Portobello area of Edinburgh, and anyone with any information that can assist our inquiries should contact police immediately."

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