Callous Thieves Pose As Workmen

Burglars steal £5 from a 92-year-old

Police in Merton are warning people to take care before letting strangers into their homes after nine burglaries in six weeks.

In all of the so-called "artifice" burglaries, the thieves have posed as workers from various organisations in order to gain entry to homes.

In most of the burglaries, which have taken place across the borough during daylight hours from March 29-May 9, victims have been more than 70 years old.

The oldest was aged 92, and she had just £5 in cash stolen from her home.

In all but one of the crimes the suspects were allowed inside the property. The only time thieves did not get in, was when the victim requested to see photographic ID.

Police analysts have looked at these crimes, and while they are not believed to linked, there are many similarities.

The items taken range from jewellery through to one victim's life savings.

In every case, suspects are white men with UK accents, either alone or in groups of up to four. They have posed as employees from gas board, water board, and even as police officers.

The two most recent offences were on the St Helier ward on May 9, with both thieves saying they were from Dyno-Rod.

Borough Commander Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Williams said: "I can summarise my goal into one sentence - fewer victims of crime. Please help us stop criminals who pretty on the elderly, and the vulnerable by checking the identification of callers who come to your door and if you are in any doubt, don’t let them in."

Police advice is:

* ALWAYS ask for photographic ID before letting ANYONE into your home.

* If you are in any doubt at all, refuse entry - legitimate callers will not take offence.

* Never leave any cash or valuables in display in your home.

* If you are ever afraid when someone visits your address, dial 999 immediately.

Police have already released images of two men who were captured on CCTV trying to rob a travel agent's in Wimbledon (see above). Their descriptions match those given by victims of "artifice" burglaries. If you have any information at all, no matter how insignificant it may seem, contact detectives on 0208 649 3159 or dial 101. To give information anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

May 15, 2012