Detectives are warning elderly residents in Harrogate to be on their guard against bogus callers following a spate of burglaries.
Officers are investigating four incidents which happened in Harrogate, Ripon and Bedale on Saturday April 2, and are appealing to witnesses, or anyone with any information to come forward.
All four incidents involved a man calling at the home of pensioners and claiming to be from the ‘water board’ saying he needed to check their water.
At two of the properties, the man was allowed access and once inside their homes, he kept the pensioners distracted while he stole a quantity of cash.
The first incident happened at Crakehall at around 12.20pm at the home of a couple in their 60s. An amount of cash was taken.
The second incident happened at approximately 1pm at Masham at the home of a woman in her 80s. The man was refused entry.
The third incident happened in Lark Lane Ripon at around 2.30pm, the man was refused entry.
The fourth incident was in Roberts Square, Harrogate at 5.30pm and an amount of cash was taken.
The man has been described as white, around 5ft 5 - 5ft 8 tall, of average build with dark brown hair and a moustache. It is thought that he could be in his 30s - 40s.
Detective Inspector Andrea Kell of Northallerton CID, said: “ We believe all four incidents are linked and we are currently carrying out house to house enquiries in the area to see if any neighbours saw this man before he knocked on the victims’ doors, or as he left the scene.
“These crimes have been committed by a particularly callous individual who has preyed on the elderly and vulnerable, conning his way into their homes before stealing cash. I would urge anyone who has been approached in similar circumstances to call the police.
“We take this kind of crime extremely seriously and will continue our efforts to crackdown on distraction burglaries and other crimes but householders have an important role to play too in making life as difficult as possible for these opportunists”.
DI Kell added: “Residents should never answer their door to a stranger or anyone they are not expecting, no matter how they are dressed or who they say they work for, without first putting the door chain on first and checking their ID.
“Anyone from a genuine organisation such as a utility company will be happy to wait outside while you check their credentials. Phone the company who they claim to work for to check they are genuine. It is very rare that anyone from a bona fide company will call without having a appointment.
“If you have any doubts or suspicions about any cold-caller who comes knocking, please don’t let them in.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 247, or you can give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.