Detectives are hunting for a conman who preyed on a vulnerable elderly couple after tricking his way into their home in Burton and stole thousands of pounds.
The crook tricked his way into the house in Birchfield Road, Stapenhill, and stolen between £8,000 and £10,000, in what detectives have branded an "abuse of trust".
The incident happened between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on September 9 but information has only just been released to the media, as officers this week issued a plea for anyone who knows who the man is or has any information to get in touch.
The crook, who was wearing a baseball cap, knocked on the door of a couple in aged their 80s and pretended he was doing gardening work at the property next door.
He took the couple into the garden and discussed clearing it for £300. The woman then went upstairs to fetch the money. They followed the woman in the house before the man took the couple back into the garden. He then sneaked back into the house and helped himself to £8,000 to £10,000 the couple had in a wardrobe in their bedroom.
The man is described as aged around 50 years, of stocky build. He was wearing a dark-coloured baseball cap, green jumper and a navy work-type trousers.
Detective Constable Kat Middleton, of Staffordshire Police, said: "This man has preyed on an elderly and vulnerable couple and we want your help to catch him. This was an abuse of trust and it has left the couple shaken.
"Please get in touch if you have any information about this incident."
If you have any information please call Staffordshire Police on 101 referring to Incident number 335 of September 5 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Preventing distraction burglaries
1. When someone knocks at the door, stop and think:
- are you expecting anyone?
- if someone is claiming to be from a company remember to ask what it is they are there for.
- always ask for an ID or any associated paperwork – get them to pass these through the letterbox as at this point you should still have your door closed.
- if you have any doubt you should ring the company they say they are from independently. Never ring the number given by the caller but instead locate it from another source, e.g. phonebook or directory enquiries.
2. Extra measures:
- ensure that your back door is always closed when answering the front door. Callers intent on gaining access to your property may be working in pairs – whilst one distracts you at your front door the other may be trying to enter your property via the back.
- never keep large sums of money in the house – use a bank or building society if possible.
- keep valuables and items of sentimental value where they are not easily accessible – the use of a small safe might be appropriate.
- keep documents containing personal details out of sight, e.g. passport, utility bills, bank statements etc.
- keep your keys in a safe place and not on display.
3. Call the police:
- if you are suspicious or feel that the caller may be bogus.
- if someone forces entry or enters your home without permission.
- if you notice valuables or money have gone missing shortly after someone has visited.
- whenever you think a crime has been, or is about to be, committed.
4. Useful contacts:
- Consumer helpline - call 03454 040506 for reputable traders in your area.
- Energy suppliers - call 0800 336699 to set up a personal password system for gas and electricity staff to use when they call to your house.
- Water companies - contact them directly with the number on your bill.