POLICE in Ledbury carried out a search in the area of St Katherine's car park this week, after a distraction thief struck again, by posing as a charity worker and targeting the elderly.

The search drew a blank, but more CCTV footage has been put out following the incident, which took place on Morning morning, December 2, and led to the female thief stealing £60 from an elderly couple, on St Katherine's car park.

A police spokesman said of the search for the culprit: "We conducted an area search, but there was no trace."

However, officers believe the same suspect was out to hoodwink the elderly in Ross on Wye, also on Monday, December 2, which shows the suspect continues to move around the county, posing as someone working for good causes, in the run up to Christmas, while distracting the elderly and helping herself to their cash.

The Reporter understands that one aspect of the distraction is to ask the person donating to show ID, to help cause an element of confusion.

In Ross this week, posing again as a charity worker collecting for the deaf, the suspect stole £100 from an 86-year-old.

The CCTV footage released by the West Mercia Police appears to show the same woman.

The released footage show a young white woman with lean features and dark hair. She has a long, prominent nose and her hair is scraped back. On one image, however, she's wearing a grey woolly hat.

She clearly wears different coats. In one image, she's wearing a grey coat with 'toggle' buttons; but in another she is wearing a blue 'Puffa-style' winter coat, with hood. A third image shows her wearing a different coat altogether, possibly dark grey in colour.

However, she is apparently fond of the same scarf. Two of the released images show her wearing a dark blue scarf with random 'smudged' white stripes.

And in each of the images she is wearing tight dark trousers, or leggings, with distinctive footwear.

Research by the Reporter has identified these shoes as being, most likely, Nike Air Max 90 trainers, which retail at around £60 a pair.

The shoes come in dark maroon and other colours. It is not clear which dark colour her trainers are, but the Nike logo - a hooked white 'flash' on the side, is clearly visible.

Meanwhile, local police are issuing sound advice to help prevent any further incidents.

PC Liam Green said: “Genuine charity collectors will carry identification, charity collecting tins and will not ask the person donating for ID.

"I’d like to urge people to be vigilant if they are approached and asked to donate money.”

He added: "We are still keen to talk to the lady in the CCTV images as we believe she may have information regarding the incidents."

This week was not the suspect's first visit to Ledbury.

On Friday October 18 in Church Lane, at around midday a lady was approached by a woman claiming to be from a charity.

A police spokesman said: "The lady gave over a small donation to the collector and on being asked to show her ID to support her donation, further money was stolen from her purse."

The spokesman added: "Also on Thursday October 24 on the High Street in Ledbury, another lady was approached by a woman asking for a donation to a charity, before she handed the money over she became suspicious of the woman and declined to donate."