Shoplifters stole a cashbox containing £150 and an iPad from two shops in Surbiton.

A thief stole the cash box from Regency Bookshop on Victoria Road, at 11.30am on Wednesday morning.

A similar incident happened at Hoi Polloi on Brighton Road, when a man is believed to have stolen an iPad just weeks earlier.

Pat Bayes, co-owner of Regency book store, said: “It was just an individual that came in and made up a story that he had come to collect an order for his grandmother. She had yet to arrive.

“He asked if he could use the loo at the back, which we allowed him to do, and on his way he stole a cash box.

“I think he by chance happened to open a cupboard on the way out by the loo and I think he was an opportunist.”

The police were contacted but they said it is unlikely the suspect will be found, Ms Bayes added.

He was described as a white male in his late 20s, of medium build and about 5 foot 10.

After a worker at the bookstore tweeted about the theft, a worker at Hoi Polloi tweeted: “Same description of the man who took our Ipad.“ Regency Bookshop had a charity box stolen ten months ago, but it had been emptied and the money sent to charity just before it was taken.

Ms Bayes said: “We have now removed anything that looks like it is worth pinching, but annoyingly this chap thought outside the box.”