POLICE are warning elderly people not to let strangers into their homes after three elderly people fell victim to distraction burglars in Herefordshire.

Sums of money were taken from addresses in Hereford, Clehonger and Leominster; and police believe the burglaries could be linked.

In each case, the caller claimed to be a builder who wanted to repair loose tiles on the roof.

The first incident happened at around 10.45am on Friday July 15 at Hampton Street, Hereford where the victim was an 83-year-old woman. A 79-year-old female was targeted in Leominster on Sunday July 20 and an elderly male was the victim of the most recent burglary in Clehonger which happened between 10.30am and 3.30pm, also on Sunday 20 July.

It’s thought that one man was involved and was described as white, of large build with dark curly hair and beard and spoke with an Irish accent.

Detective Constable Jamie Bullock said: “Almost certainly, the caller distracted the occupier at the addresses by asking for payment for work in advance and then searched the properties for money and valuables. He then left the properties without completing any work.

“These people can be very convincing and very persistent but we would once again remind people – especially the elderly – to be on their guard and not to let strangers into their home under any circumstances.

“We would always recommend that security chains should be fitted to doors. Even if strangers insist on coming in to sort out a problem or complete work, don’t be persuaded. Keep them out and then call the police on 101.

“Distraction burglars prey on old and vulnerable people causing their victims tremendous distress, fortunately, these type of offences are relatively rare in Herefordshire, but if you have been a victim of a distraction burglary or seen anything suspicious, please contact Herefordshire CID on telephone 101.”

People wishing to report information anonymously can do so through the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org