AN 86-year-old woman was robbed in what police have described as a “cowardly” distraction burglary.
Merseyside Police is appealing for information following the theft at the pensioner’s home in Ward Grove, Rock Ferry yesterday afternoon.
The woman, who has lived in the property for most of her life, had answered the door at around 3pm on Monday to find two men who claimed to be replacing doors on behalf of a housing association.
The men entered the property and while one asked the woman for a glass of water, the other walked around the property pretending to measure up.
It was only when the men had left, claiming they would “return later”, that the pensioner noticed that sentimental jewellery, including an engraved gold watch, 18ct gold bracelet and a diamond ring had been taken along with a large amount of cash.
House-to-house enquiries have been carried out in the area and an investigation remains ongoing.
Detective Inspector Paul Parry said: "It's hard to believe anyone would stoop so low as to steal money from an 86-year-old woman and we are doing everything we can to arrest the cowardly individuals responsible.
"Offenders like this think nothing of deliberately targeting elderly people in their own homes and often appear entirely plausible.
"If you think you may have been targeted by this offender or you have suffered any type of bogus official or distraction burglary, I would urge you to call the police.
“I want to take this opportunity to reassure people that we take every report we receive extremely seriously and will carry out a full and thorough investigation.”
The first offender is described as being white, aged in his 30s or 40s, of a stocky build with dark hair. He was wearing dark coloured trousers or jeans and a jacket.
The second offender was white and wearing a baseball cap.
Detective Constable Suzanne Dunbar added: "I would also appeal to people across Wirral to keep an eye on any elderly and vulnerable neighbours. If you notice anyone suspicious in the area, always call the police or contact your local neighbourhood policing team for more advice."
Some of the jewellery taken include an engraved gold watch, 18ct gold bracelet, diamond solitaire ring on a gold band, 9ct gold gate bracelet with a heart shaped lock, watch with a leather strap, gold ring with small ruby and diamond stones, two eternity rings and a rare Blue John stone ring on a silver band.
Anyone with information should detectives in Wirral CID on 0151 777 2246, or via the police non-emergency 101 number.
Alternatively, reports can be made to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
POLICE have since issued advice on how to prevent this type of crime.
- Do not open your door if you are unsure who the caller is. Always make sure you know who visitors are by asking to see their identification. Never let people into your property if you don't know them.
- Always keep the key chain on the door whilst talking to callers and always check their ID before letting them into your home. Genuine callers won't mind you doing this. If callers haven't got valid identification, don't let them in.
- Bogus callers often pretend to be someone official, for example, from a utility company or the water board. They will also try to distract people by asking for a drink of water or if they can use the toilet. Remember "if in doubt, keep them out".
- Ensure that if you do let somebody into your home close the door behind them. Bogus callers are often linked to distraction burglars where someone will distract you while others sneak in through an insecure door.
- Remember to close and lock the back door before you answer the front door. It's a good idea to have a viewer or spy hole and a stout chain fitted to all the external doors to the property.
- Don't keep large quantities of cash at home. It's better in the bank where it's safe.
- If someone asks for your help (for example they want to make a telephone call or claim to have lost a ball in your garden) always ask a friend or neighbour, or someone else you trust, for help.