August 22 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Fake police officers conned their way into a sheltered housing complex to steal elderly residents’ cash.
Wearing uniform, they told their two victims they were trying to safeguard them from criminals to gain their trust at Bernard House in Hainault.
The women, one in her 70s and one in her 90s, only realised they had been burgled after the two male “officers” left shortly before 9pm on Sunday.
One was told police needed to search her home because there was an intruder in the building, in Henry’s Walk, and the other excuse was a stolen handbag.
Both victims lost unknown amounts of money but neither was injured.
Ayo Morakinyo, a senior support worker, said one woman had since gone into hospital.
“She went in on Monday,” he added. “She’s been in and out for months but I think that was part of it.
“Some of the residents are still a bit shaken.”
The women had buzzed the thieves into the flats, trusting their uniform.
Mr Morakinyo added: “They both realised something was wrong and called attendants when they left.”
It comes after a string of crimes involving thieves posing as police officers.
Redbridge Police issued a warning in February, when three homes were burgled in just a day in Hainault, Barkingside and Clayhall.
The force said the suspects were two men posing as police officers who flashed “some sort of ID” to gain entry.
Money and jewellery was stolen from three women described as “elderly and vulnerable”.
Later in the month, a similar burglary was reported in Wanstead.
Police have not said whether the crimes are linked but are urging people to be wary letting strangers into their homes.
Anyone faced with a persistent caller should shut the door and dial 999.
To check the validity of anyone claiming to be a police officer, call 101 to confirm their identity.
Anyone with information should call Redbridge Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
No arrests have been made.
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