Police are appealing for information and are warning people to be vigilant following a number of distraction burglaries in south Essex.
Officers were called to five reports between Monday, April 24, and Friday, May 5, about burglaries where distraction techniques were used to gain access to people’s homes.
The first was reported at 11.10am on Monday, April 24 after five men posing as tree surgeons tricked their way into an 84-year-old man’s home in Russell Gardens, Wickford.
They distracted him before leaving with a four-figure sum of cash.
At around 10.30am on Wednesday, April 26, men claiming to be gardeners stole jewellery, personal documents and cash from a 54-year-old woman in Royston Avenue, Southend.
At 11.30am on Thursday, May 4, men posing as gardeners distracted an 85-year-old woman in Bramble Road, Benfleet, and took cash and a purse.
Later that day at 3pm, a 63-year-old woman in Ness Road, Shoebury, was visited by men pretending to be tree fellers.
Jewellery and cash were stolen from her home.
Police received a fifth report in Wakering Road, Shoebury, at 9.50am on Friday, May 5, after a 93-year-old woman was visited by men claiming to be gardeners.
While in conversation, a suspect entered her home and took a three figure sum of cash.
Detective Sergeant Rachel Jeffery said: “Suspects are knocking at homes and are either claiming to be cutting trees at a neighbouring house or gaining access to victims’ homes by offering services such as tree felling or cleaning roof tiles.
“They are using large vehicles with signage on the side panels, wearing high visibility clothing and are issuing leaflets.
“If someone you don’t know knocks at your door, always ask for identification. All genuine callers will have identification and won’t mind you asking to see it.
“If you’re still not sure, ask them to come back another time and don’t feel pressured into letting someone into your home you don’t want them there.”
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact Dc Jeffery at Southend CID on 101.