Alan Bennett was the target of pickpockets who stole £1,500 from him in an ‘ice cream scam’.

The gay author, 76, was shopping for food in Camden Town, London, where he lives with his long-term partner Rupert Thomas, 43.

Two women and a man split ice cream on his coat before helping themselves to his wallet, which contained £1,500 he had just withdrawn.

Police say the ice cream scam is commonly used in London’s West End.

A Lloyds clerk told the Daily Mail: “I served him. He came back into the bank after being in Marks & Spencer, and said there had been two women who told him he had ice-cream on his back.

“They started patting him down to try and get it off. That’s when it must have happened. It’s really awful. Poor man. The police brought him in here afterwards, where he gave details of the incident.”

Bennett, who wrote The Madness Of George III and The History Boys, told the paper the incident was “most upsetting”, but added he would be writing about it in his diaries.