Essex police hunt 'deplorable' gang

DETECTIVES in Essex are hunting a gang that forced its way into the homes of seven elderly women and committed “deplorable” burglaries after posing as police officers.

DETECTIVES in Essex are hunting a gang that forced its way into the homes of seven elderly women and committed “deplorable” burglaries after posing as police officers.

On Friday afternoon, members of the four-strong gang repeatedly made their way into the homes of the women, mostly through the front door, after initially identifying themselves as policemen.

Two of the incidents happened in Old London Road, Marks Tey where the gang broke-in through the back door.

In one instance an 81-year-old woman was left with bruising after being restrained by members of the gang while others rifled through her belongings.


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The crimes, which all took place between 2.30pm and 6pm, were described by one old peoples' charity as “despicable”.

Rachel Fahie, chief officer for Age Concern Colchester, said the experience would have been frightening enough for anyone, least of all vulnerable elderly residents.

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She said: “These are crimes of violence. They're doing what all criminals would do, which is go for vulnerable people because it is easy.

“They're choosing these people deliberately because they can't put up a fight. It's shocking and horrible for them and we just hope the police catch them.”

The smartly-dressed group also struck at two homes in Evelyn Wood Road, Cressing, two homes in Cuppers Close and Blunts Hall Road, Witham, and another in Belvedere Road, Danbury. In each case they escaped with a small amount of cash.

Mrs Fahie advised homeowners to be cautious of bogus callers, not keep more cash at home than necessary and to be mindful of leaving doors and windows unlocked or open.

She added: “Older people do get targeted but I think we need to keep the true figures of crime in perspective.

“People do have money and belongings that matter to them but their own wellbeing is more important.”

The victims were as old as 94 but managed to provide descriptions of two members of the gang.

The first is white, about 5ft tall and has light brown, collar-length hair. He also had a “little moustache” and wore a light-coloured shirt.

The second man is also white and aged between 20 and 30-years-old. He is of a slim build, has collar length hair and wore light-coloured clothing.

A police spokesman said: “This is a deplorable thing to do and the suspects obviously targeted them because they're vulnerable and elderly.”

Anyone with information about these crimes or any vehicle that was used is urged to contact the Essex Police Distraction Burglary Team on 01245 452295.

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