Elderly people targeted by ‘water company’ scam in Eastbourne

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Three elderly people have been targeted by people claiming to be from a water company.

An 87-year-old Eastbourne woman answered the door at Colwood Crescent home to a man claiming to be from the waterboard on September 7, said police.

He said he needed to check her water and, without asking, came into her home. She felt suspicious and went to get help but he ran past her from the house with two handbags. They were found nearby with cash missing from them.

Then, police say on September 9 a 78-year-old answered the door to a man in Avard Crescent who said the waste pipe was blocked.

He pushed his way into the flat before going from room to room and left with a handbag which contained money and a birth certificate.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said on Wednesday (September 13) an 87-year-old answered the door to her home in Summerheath Road, Hailsham, to a man claiming to be from the waterboard.

She asked for ID but he claimed it was soaking wet and in another jacket. He claimed there was a blockage at her address which he needed to check.

The spokesperson said she let him in and he asked her to turn on the tap in the bathroom. She did and as she returned he was leaving with her handbag. She tried to stop him but he pushed her to the floor and she hit her head.

Detective constable Karen Colbran said, “We are looking at these incidents, which have all happened in the last week, and believe they may have all been connected. We also believe they may be connected to an incident occurred on Monday, September 4 in Newgate Road, St Leonards.

“We have a description of the man in Summerheath Road, he is white, about 50, clean shaven with a northern accent. He was wearing a quilted blue jacket and a black baseball cap.

“We are asking if anyone saw a man knocking on doors in any of these roads on these days to please get in touch.

“Anyone who knocks on the door should be able to show you identification. If they can’t, don’t let them in. If you don’t know the person outside answer with a chain on the door or speak to them through a letter box. Anyone genuine will wait outside while you make checks.”

Anyone with information can report online at www.sussex.police.uk/contact-us/response-to-appeal quoting Operation Inroad. Alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.