Avon and Somerset Police are urging residents to be alert and to check on vulnerable elderly relatives and friends following a number of distraction burglaries at senior citizens’ homes across the area.
Police say they know of incidents over the past few days in Bath, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
These include on Tuesday 18th December:
- Just before 6pm a man called on the home of a 90-year-old woman in Rose Acre, Brentry. He claimed to be delivering a washing machine. The woman described him as white, aged about 20, about 5ft 6ins tall, with dark hair. He wore a navy anorak with hood up and possibly a peaked cap under the hood. Officers are not sure if anything was stolen.
- Between 7pm and 7.15pm a man called on a 92-year-old man in Kingsway, Little Stoke. He said he was a police officer and kept the householder talking, claiming there had been a burglary. Meanwhile a second suspect got in through a back door and stole cash. The caller was a white man in his 30s, about 5ft 6ins tall, wearing a smart jacket and with his face partially covered. The second suspect wasn’t seen.
- Between 7pm and 7.30pm a man pushed his way into the home of a 94-year-old woman in Thicket Avenue, Hillfields when she answered the door. Again he claimed to be a police officer and said there were burglars in her garden. He was white, in his 30s, with dark curly hair, wearing a navy blue hoody. Stolen were cash, a mobile phone and a purse
On Wednesday 19 December:
- At around 7.45pm a man walked into a 91-year-old woman’s home in Lakewood Road, Henleaze. He said he was a police officer and there had been a burglary. He was was white, aged about 27, about 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build with a round ‘chubby’ face. The woman went to check her bedroom. She found the window had been forced and the room searched. When she returned to her sitting room that too had been searched and the man was gone. An 18 carat gold wedding ring, inscribed with the initials WA and WS and a date in July 1958 had been stolen. Thieves also took cash, a Marks and Spencer gift card and a gold chain with a gold-coloured pendant about three-quarters of an inch tall and roughly the shape of a map of England.
- Between 8pm and 9pm a white man in his 40s with dark clothing called on a 71-year-old woman at Sydenham Buildings, Bath. He claimed to be a police officer but left, empty-handed, when challenged.
Detective Sergeant Laura Miller said: “Any genuine police officer will expect to show you identification and to wait while you call 101 to verify it if you’re unsure. We’ve carried out house-to-house enquiries and issued an alert through Neighbourhood Watch.
“This sort of doorstep crime is quite rare. However it can be very distressing for vulnerable older people and we’re targeting our patrols in these areas to provide reassurance.
“Please make your family or friends aware of these incidents and talk to them about the simple steps they can take to deter these criminals.
“If you see someone acting suspiciously at a neighbour’s property call us straight away. Ring 999 if a crime is being committed, otherwise call 101.”
If you can help regarding any of the incidents above, call 101 and give the call handler the reference number5218279290