Conmen posing as water officials steal £1,500 from old lady

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POLICE are warning residents to be wary of cold callers after conmen posing as water board officials stole £1,500 from an elderly lady.

Two men called at a flat in Bourne Street at 3.20pm on Saturday (February 18).

They pretended to be from a water company and managed to convince the pensioner to let them in by claiming there was a water problem in the area.

While one of them engaged the 89-year-old resident in conversation in the kitchen, the other man searched the flat and stole £1,500.

The men are both described as white, and in their thirties, about 5ft 5in to 5ft 6in tall, stocky with bald or shaved heads, short beards and moustaches.

Both wore black and white check shirts.

One may have worn a checked jacket and dark trousers. The other man wore a white hooded top.

They both spoke with what is described as a foreign accent.

Detectives are considering possible links between this offence and four similar offences which happened in Brighton, Hove and Crawley during the past week.

Detective Constable Andy Mountford-Laker said, “If any other local residents have had men calling at the door and asking to come in on the pretext of being from the ‘water board’ we would like to know about it.

“Please contact us 101 quoting serial 1177 of 18/2.

“Meanwhile, please continue to be aware and cautious about anyone calling at your door unannounced and do not let them in.”

Sussex Police has published a check list of tips to help people when receiving cold calls.

l Attach your door chain before opening the door to strangers

l Water company staff and contractors always carry identification

l A company uniform and vehicle logo are things to watch for

l Remember, if you are unsure, don’t let them in – keep them out

l Employees and contractors of genuine companies will always be happy to wait whilst you check their identification. Your can check the identity of water contractors by telephoning Southern Water on 0845 278 0845.

l If you are suspicious and the callers are still present or nearby call the police via 999.