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Appeal: Elderly widow, 87, has life possessions stolen by bogus workmen

News   •   Mar 17, 2017 06:00 GMT

Image: Efit of man wanted for questioning

Detectives in Hackney investigating the distraction burglary of an 87-year-old woman have released an E-fit of a suspect.

On Monday, 20 February 2017 at about 14:55hrs the victim was home alone when two males attended her address on the Woodberry Down Estate, Hackney, N4. The men claimed to be from a water company and needed to check her water pipes.

Whilst one of the men remained in the kitchen, distracting her by running the taps, the other male was alone in another room.

After several minutes the second man returned claiming that the fault had been rectified. The two men then left the address.

Shortly afterwards, the victim discovered that her bedroom had been ransacked. A large quantity of cash which totalled £3,000 was stolen as well as all the jewellery from her jewellery box valued at £2,000.

The victim, in a distressed and upset state, alerted her neighbour who immediately contacted police.

A witness saw the two men fleeing the scene and has been able to compile an E-fit image of one of the men.

The men have been described as white, in their 30's. The first was slim build with short blonde hair and the second as stocky build with dark hair. Both men were wearing high visibility jackets. The Efit released is of the second man. 

The lady has been left devastated by the raid, particularly at the loss of various items of sentimental jewellery including her engagement ring from 1950 given to her by her late husband.

Several other items of jewellery stolen includes a gold sovereign on a chain with the inscription 'Elizabeth 1967,' a diamond solitaire ring with a gold band, three stone sapphire ring, thirty inch gold chain, ruby ring with a gold band and a woman's wrist watch with a small face and gold strap.

Detective Inspector Paul Ridley of Hackney Criminal Investigation Department is leading the hunt for the suspects and said: "We are appealing for information from anyone that recognises the image of the suspect on the e-fit to contact my investigation team as a priority. I also need to know whether you have been offered any items of the distinctive jewellery, perhaps in a professional capacity at a pawnbrokers or jewellers or noticed it in someone's possession.

"This is a despicable and cowardly crime targeting an elderly widow and stealing her life possessions. If anyone has experienced something similar to this we would urge them to come forward.

"I can personally assure you that all information received will be treated in the strictest of confidence and immediately acted upon."

Police are reminding people to always verify the identity of anyone that comes to their door, if they are genuine then they will be able to provide identification. If in doubt do not let them in and call 999.

Anyone that can assist police is urged to contact the police non-emergency number 101, or by tweeting @MetCC.

To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org. If the information you supply to Crimstoppers leads to an arrest and charge, you could get a cash reward of up to £1,000.

No arrests have been made and enquiries continue.

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Protect yourself against bogus callers

Bogus callers make up stories and give false information to trick or worry you into leaving your house or letting them in. They can be male or female, of any age and appearance. Many pretend to work for the council or water board and often intentionally target elderly members of the community or those living alone.

Always ask the caller for their identification and check it carefully. Ask them to wait outside and close the door while you check - genuine callers will not mind. Do not let anyone into your home until you are sure they are genuine. If you are not happy, ask them to call back when you have company.

If at any point you feel unsure or scared, you should contact the police via 101 (non-emergency) or 999 in an emergency.