Distraction burglars target ‘vulnerable’ people


Distraction burglars have been targeting ‘vulnerable’ homeowners across Sussex, police say.

Sussex Police released suspect e-fits after detectives said three incidents where residents were conned by bogus callers on Monday (May 16) could be linked.

A police spokesman said: “In the Burgess Hill incident the men told a resident that they were working on an emergency at a neighbour’s house and they needed to check her water pressure.

“While one man stayed with the resident running taps in the kitchen, the other said he would go back to the neighbour’s house. In fact, he searched the property and stole foreign currency from a bedroom.”

House-to-house enquiries have been being carried out and extra patrols deployed following the incidents in Manor Road, Burgess Hill, Winterbourne road, Lewes and Fort Road, Newhaven.

Detective Constable Heidi McCall, of the Horsham Priority Crime Team, said: “It’s typical of the sort of cover story and manner of carrying out the crime that these distraction burglars employ.”

And colleague DC Richie Davison, of the East Sussex Priority Crime Team, stressed: “Our advice to anyone finding a stranger at their door is not to let them in, no matter what they say or unless you are absolutely sure they are genuine.

“Reputable callers will be prepared to provide identification and to wait outside for this to be checked over the telephone with the company or organisation they claim to represent.

“If at all concerned or suspicious, residents should call police immediately by dialling 999.”

The suspects were believed to be two white men, both of whom wore blue or dark clothing.

One was described as being in his early 30s, 5’10” - 5’11”, of slight build and with short light brown hair. The other was older - mid 40s, 5’9”, of stocky build and with short greying hair.

Nothing was believed to have been stolen in the Lewes and Newhaven incidents, despite the intrusion.

People with information were asked to email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or phone 101, quoting Operation Inroad.

Alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (www.crimestoppers-uk.org).

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