Burglar preys on elderly lady
5:30am Tuesday 17th June 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
AN ELDERLY woman has been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket in Lansdown Road after a man committed what police are calling a distraction burglary.
Wiltshire Police is now appealing for witnesses to come forward to the incident, which took place in broad daylight between 1pm and 1.30pm last Tuesday.
An unknown man targeted one property in Eastcott Street and gained entry to one house, where two elderly occupants were conned into thinking their roof had been repaired by the man.
The man ordered the woman to pay him for the work he alleged he had carried out.
One of the pair, a woman in her 80s agreed to pay the man £25 for work he had never performed.
Details remain sketchy on what happened next, but it would appear the man chose to leave along with the couple.
The parties went their separate ways shortly after handing over the money to the suspect.
After the victim returned, she found her property had been burgled, with approximately £400 stolen from her home while she was away.
The victim has been described as extremely shaken up by the incident and a plea has been made by police for information on the events of that day.
The suspect is described as a white male, with tanned skin, between 40 and 50 years old, around 5ft 8ins tall and well built. He was wearing dark clothing and a dark baseball cap.
Wiltshire Police’s Priority Crime Team is investigating the crime, which is often committed with elderly people the victims.
A spokesman for the team said: “We would always advise people to check identification before conversing with anyone or letting them into your home.
“It’s also good practice to leave a chain on with the door open for any sort of dialogue. Obviously, if you are unsure of anything, call the police.
“In distraction burglaries the offender generally employs a trick to distract the victim while they carry out the crime.
“For example, they might be asked to watch a tap running in the kitchen, whilst the culprit goes upstairs and helps themselves to the victim’s possessions.
“Another example might be one person going to the door with another hiding outside. When the first person is invited in they leave the front door open and take the victim to another room, allowing the second person in take what they wish.
“We don’t get many of them fortunately.”
Anyone with information should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.