POLICE are warning of a cash machine scam in the County Durham area after a woman spotted a machine had been tampered with.

The incident happened this evening in the Coxhoe area.

"Earlier this evening a lady using the machine at Co-Op in Coxhoe noticed that the panel was loose and her card was swallowed," Durham City Police wrote on its Facebook page.

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"She made contact with us and we were able to retrieve a skimming device from the machine, all thanks to her quick-thinking and knowledge of the scam."

The spokesman said the skimming devices had been removed from legitimate cash machines or simply manufactured and contain card reading technology.

"A camera will generally be installed above the keypad to record PIN numbers and details recorded by the skimming device can be input onto something as simple as a top-up card and pass as a legitimate cash machine card, the problem is that it has links directly to your cleared funds," he said.

Anyone who spots anything suspicious should contact the police on the non-emergency 101 number.