Bogus callers target west Suffolk

A PERSISTENT teenage girl tried to persuade an elderly man to give her a gardening job while an accomplice sneaked into his home to steal a large sum of cash.

By James Mortlock

A PERSISTANT teenage girl tried to persuade an elderly man to give her a gardening job while an accomplice sneaked into his home to steal a large sum of cash.

The 90-year-old victim is the latest in a string of vulnerable people to fall victim to such fraudsters and police, who issued fresh warnings for people to be on their guard, say the use of such a young girl in the latest incident was "despicable".

Police spokesman Mike Nunn said the 16-year-old called at the address in Riverside Close, Mildenhall on Tuesday and asked if the pensioner needed any gardening work done.

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"He said no but she was extremely persistent and asked several times to keep the man talking. She eventually left without gaining entry to the address but the man later discovered a large sum of money had been stolen from his wallet and a drawer in his lounge."

He said officers believed a second offender got in and rifled through the victim's drawers while he was distracted.

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Detective Chief Inspector Jon Brighton said: "This is a despicable crime where the offender has deliberately targeted an elderly member of our community. We would advise anyone who gets an unexpected caller at his or her door to be extremely cautious."

The teenager was white, 5ft 5in tall and of medium build. She had short dark brown hair and was wearing a gold necklace and several rings on her fingers.

Anyone with information relating to the crime should call Dc Mark Beirne on 01284 774100 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police say they are not linking the Mildenhall incident to con tricks involving two gangs of bogus water officials over the last four days.

On Tuesday, a gang of three men struck at Walsham le Willows, Barnham and Wyverstone, over the course of little over an hour-and-a-half. They first tried to enter an address at Wyverstone, near Stowmarket, at around 1pm where two of the gang said they needed to check the water pressure.

They gained entry and while the occupant was distracted and an undisclosed sum of cash was stolen.

Just 25 minutes later three men called at an address in Walsham, near Bury St Edmunds, claiming they needed to check the water, but were refused entry.

At 2.17pm they struck again at a house in Barnham saying there was a burst water main, and although they initially gained entry, the occupant then challenged them and they fled empty-handed. Police believe the same gang were involved in all three incidents and all are described as white and in their 20s.

A separate gang has tricked an elderly woman at her home in Recreation Road, Haverhill, but appear not to have taken anything. The fraudsters struck at 1.30pm on Friday when a man told the victim there was a flood next door and her water needed turning off.

A police spokesman said the man then left stating he would be back later but did not return. The woman became suspicious and checked with her neighbour, who had suffered no such flood. However, a search of the house revealed nothing had been taken.

Police would like to hear from anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area at the time to call 01284 774100 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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